10 Unhealthy Habits That Will Make You Miss Out On What You Want

We all have habits that are either beneficial to us or hinder our progress. As we do most things habitually, we must always be aware of the things that are supporting us and those that are preventing us from achieving what we want.

Our unhealthy habits, if allowed to continue, can:

  • Restrict our progress without us even realising it.
  • Affect how we interact with those around us.
  • Prevent us from taking chances to get new or better results.
  • Lower our self-confidence, self-esteem and the level of trust others have in us.

Awareness of our unhealthy habits is vital if we want to make the necessary changes in order to get what we want.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the most unhealthy habits I had in the past was watching too much television. Being a being sports fan, there are always many options, with multiple sports channels. A number of years ago, I decided to stop watching most the sports I frequently watched live on television. I told myself if I needed to know what happened or who won, I could always watch a few minutes of updates during the news or read about it online.

Just a simple decision like that allowed me to gain around 15 hours per week, which I have since been able to put to much better use. While 15 hours a week may seem like a lot of time, that works out to be just over two hours per day, which is not hard to accumulate as the average adult watches over three hour of television per day.

While that is just one example of an unhealthy habit, here are 10 other habits we must be aware of that could be causing us to miss out on what we want. Once we’re aware of these habits, we’ll be in a much better position to do something about it.

  1. Not making decisions on your own. When things get difficult, it is very tempting to ask someone what we should do. While there is certainly value in getting advice, the thing we must be cautious of is if asking others for help is a strategy not to make decisions ourselves. Our ability to make better decisions only comes from the practice of making more decisions ourselves.
  2. Letting previous experiences influence how you participate in new experiences. Things we’ve experienced in the past should not affect what we do in the future, however the truth is they often can, if we’ve not properly addressed our past experiences. Every experience offers us a new lesson and we must apply what we have learned to our new experiences.
  3. Wasting valuable time on things you cannot control. There are a lot of things in life we cannot control, like what is happening in our local economy or the global economy, how others behave, things we have done in the past, what our leaders or politicians do, etc. Dwelling on such things brings us no value at all. Our time will be better spent focusing on things we can control.
  4. Not willing to go through the struggle to get what you want. It is so easy to desire something better, as most of us do, however, what separates the successful from the not-so successful is those who have achieved uncommon success have been willing to do what was necessary to achieve success. Those who are not-so successful often wish for better things but they also tend to give up or quit too soon when the going gets tough.
  5. Berating yourself for mistakes you have made. We all make mistakes and some of us are more critical of ourselves than others. When we make a mistake, it is important to extract the lesson we need to learn and do things differently next time we’re in a similar situation.
  6. Playing it safe all the time. It has been said that most people are tiptoeing through life hoping to get to death safely. That is not a very intelligent strategy. Our ability to deal with life’s challenges is proportional to our ability to go beyond what we’re familiar with. The more uncomfortable we are, the better we will become in handling new challenges.
  7. Allowing yourself to be influenced by those who don’t have a vision for their life. Who we spend our time with has a major impact on our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. If we spend most of our time with those who are not ambitious or who don’t have visions for what they want in life, then that will affect what we are willing or not willing to do. It is our responsibility to spend time with those who will inspire us to be the best we can be.
  8. Taking criticism personally rather than as feedback for improvement. When we are criticised, it can often hurt our identity and even cause us to stop taking action toward what we want. While most criticism can be painful, if we’re able to adopt the mindset that it is just another form of feedback, we’ll be in a better position to process the feedback more productively. Having the belief that any feedback is valuable can help us get closer to what we want.
  9. Making the same types of mistakes over and over again. Our mistakes should be considered as lessons necessary for us to get to where we want to go. If we have the habit of repeating the same mistakes consistently, then that’s an indication we haven’t been willing to learn from our mistakes. When we make a mistake, it is always beneficial to take some time to reflect on what we could have done differently.
  10. Using not knowing how to do something as an excuse to procrastinate. In times gone by, it was quite common for people not to know how to do something so it became a valid reason for not doing it. However, in the world we live in today, how to do anything is available at our fingertips. Therefore, not knowing how to do something cannot be a valid excuse. If we have a big enough reason for wanting to do something, then we will always find a way to do it.

It is always useful to do a regular check-up of how we are travelling. This is why a weekly review or a quarterly review is highly recommended as they help us focus on what matters most to us. Eliminating these unhealthy habits will bring us great rewards over the long term and support us in getting what we want.

Action Step: Choose the habit that is affecting you the most and come up with a few strategies or tactics you can apply to replace that habit with a healthier or productive habit.

Question: What other habits have prevented you from getting what you want?

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  • Jane Ransom

    I believe #5, especially is key. Berating oneself never works. Self-forgiveness rules the day!

    • Neel Raman

      Thank you Jane! Yes, learning to accept all aspects of ourselves is the key!! Thanks for your comment!