Are You Letting These Bad Habits Hold You Back?
The quality of your life is largely determined by your habits, which comprise a significant portion of your daily behavior. Many people allow their bad habits to take over their lives, which holds them back from fulfilling their promise as humans.
Below are five habitual ways of thinking and living that are best avoided. Take the power back and start living life to the fullest!
1. Believing "I am who I am"
Growth is a defining component of health. In nature, healthy plants and animals alike grow bigger until maturity. When an organism is unhealthy or sick, it stops growing. The life of a person is the same way.
Healthy people learn, improve, and change over time. Unhealthy people tend to believe that life is static, and that they are static. Their belief that they can't change and grow ensures that they don't. This habitual way of thinking blocks ideas of positive change before they have a chance to come to fruition. It's simple: to be healthy, you must first believe you can grow.
2. Being (habitually) controlled by negative spirals
A good portion of life is defined by spirals and momentum, both positive and negative. Successful and healthy people are often in positive spirals. It's important to note that this isn't just because "they're lucky," but because they habitually thwart negative spirals and nurture positive spirals.
Unhealthy people don't know how to stop a negative spiral before it starts, or how to climb out of one when it does. Most of them rely on motivation to pull them out, but in this "low" state of mind, motivation rarely comes, which keeps them stuck in their spirals of laziness or depression. It becomes a habitual cycle of pain.
The way out of this is with small steps. Two years ago, I was in a laziness spiral. I busted free by starting a mini habit of one pushup a day, and two years later I have a six pack and am great shape. At the low point in my laziness spiral, I couldn't motivate myself to do a single 30-minute workout, but I could do one push-up, and that small step sparked further small steps. That day, it turned into a 30-minute workout. Over time, it's developed into a positive upward spiral of fitness!
3. Going it alone
Introverts still need other people. Humans are social creatures, and one of our basic needs is to feel loved. Unhealthy people isolate themselves for various reasons, but the effect is always negative. This isn't to say that introverts are unhealthier than extroverts — we need varying amounts of social contact — but it's unhealthy when social interaction is extremely low or nonexistent.
When you spend time with others, it broadens your perspective, helps you relate to others, and makes you feel connected to the world.
4. Never saying "no"
Saying no isn't a negative thing. The people who can't say no are really the only ones who can't say yes. Because when you say yes to everything, you're essentially sacrificing your ability to choose.
Being a "yes person" is caused by a few things, but habit is the engine that drives it. When someone asks you a question with an expectation that you'll respond in the positive, you might say yes as if it's not a choice. And if it gets to this habitual level, it's not a choice anymore.
This is a particularly destructive habit as it puts you at the mercy of others' expectations and desires for you, and nothing is more frustrating than losing control of your life.
5. Manipulating others
A common, unhealthy practice around the world is manipulation. People do it to friends, family, and colleagues, and they don't always even realize it.
Manipulation is a poor substitute for sincerity. For a crude example, say you want someone to pass the mustard. Instead of asking someone to pass the mustard, you might say, "Ugh, the mustard is too far away." The aim of this comment would be to make someone feel bad for you (or feel guilty for hoarding the mustard), which would then motivate them to pass you the mustard.
When manipulation becomes a habitual way of dealing with people, it causes a lot of problems that can be distilled into one phrase — unhealthy relationships. Be sincere with people. If you need something, ask for it directly; compared to manipulation, this is simple to do and yields better results.