Happiness isn’t about luck, or the perfect circumstances, or a problem-free life, or having everything that you want. Happiness isn’t an unattainable state of mind. No – happiness is mostly a choice and it’s up to you to make that choice.
Nobody’s life is perfect, but some people choose to be happy despite their problems. I’m not saying you can be happy every second of every day – that’s unrealistic. We all get upset when we suffer tragedies, losses, and sometimes just plain bad moods and ‘blah’ days.
Some people just choose – maybe subconsciously – to not be happy. Instead, they choose self-pity, envy, ungratefulness, etc. And other times, people have bad habits that hinder their ability to feel true happiness.
That’s what I wanted to talk about today! To be honest, everyone probably suffers from at least one of these bad habits to some degree. But these are all things that you should try to change if you want to be happier!Nobody's life is perfect, but some people choose to be happy despite their problems. Click To Tweet
Here are 11 bad habits that you should drop if you want to be happy:
1. Feeling insecurity/self-doubt.
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a habit. It can be harder to overcome than that. But your thoughts are super powerful and they can definitely affect your mood and your whole outlook on life. If you’re constantly tearing yourself down, how do you expect to ever be happy? I did a pretty big post awhile back about how to deal with insecurity and negative self-image. It’s still one of my most popular posts; you can read it here.
2. Being ungrateful.
When you focus on everything that you don’t have or everything that you wish you had, you’re taking what you do have for granted. In the words of Joni Mitchell, “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” This is such a perfect quote. It’s pretty sad when people only realize how good they had it after they lose everything, right? Try to write down (or think about) at least 3 things that you’re thankful for, every day. And try to make it 3 different things every day. These things can be as small as being able to watch your favorite movie tonight or as big as being alive to live another day. I promise you, taking the time to notice and appreciate all of the wonderful things that you already have in your life will make you so much happier.
Putting off your goals or other stuff that needs to be done or that you want to get done can totally make you super unhappy with yourself and life in general. Whether they’re humongous goals like curing cancer or tiny goals like cleaning your house. They all give you some level of unhappiness if you keep putting them off and procrastinating instead of working towards them. Each day, take one step toward your goal. It can be a teeny-tiny baby step or a huge leap; just take a step and you’ll be oh-so-much happier to be that much closer to achieving them.
4. Blaming others.
Blaming other people, circumstances, or events for your problems is no way to live a happy life. This is something that I used to do a lot. I played the victim. I spent my time and energy blaming my problems on other events instead of spending my time being productive and trying to fix the problems. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I accepted that I’m in control of my life, and my happiness. When I did that, I became a much happier person. I’m not saying that whatever happened to you or whoever screwed you over doesn’t suck, I’m simply saying that you’re in control of how to deal with your problems. You can’t sit around waiting for other people to clean up your mess (even if they created it!) or you’ll be sitting around forever. Some people just aren’t good people and you can’t change that. But it’s your life and the sooner you start taking control of it, the sooner you’ll be on your way to a happier you.
Pretending to be someone you’re not is definitely emotionally draining. In order to be truly happy, you have to be true to yourself. It’s just not satisfying – or possible, honestly – to be someone you’re not. All it does is stifle your true self and hold you back in life. Lying to yourself and/or others about who you are, what you have, etc. is just creating more negativity in your life and inside yourself. It leaves you feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. Whether you’re pretending to be someone you’re not to fit in, or you’re lying about something else to feel better about yourself…it doesn’t matter what the reason is. Learn to accept your quirks, flaws, and uniqueness – that’s what makes you who you are! And a lot of the time, that’s what actually makes you more likable.
Related reading: 5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Yourself
6. Judging people.
Okay, honestly? We all judge people a little bit. But I’m not just talking about making (sometimes unfair) assumptions about people. Judging other people, talking about them behind their backs, and being a general meanie can damage yourself. To put it bluntly, when you do this, it’s usually because you’re unhappy with something about you, whether it’s something worth being unhappy about or not. You’re just projecting this unhappiness onto others. So instead of criticizing others (or comparing yourself to them!) work on whatever you’re unhappy with in your own life. Plus, when you’re a Rude Jude, putting negative energy out into the world, you’re letting negative energy into your own heart at the same time. And that’s a no-no if you wanna be happy. Being nice, supportive, and encouraging to your fellow humans leaves you with a much more rewarding feeling.
7. Trying to control everything.
If you’re determined to control everything, then you’re setting yourself up for unhappiness. What happens if you try to control something that’s totally out of your control? You’re going to be sorely disappointed. Newsflash: not everything is in your control, babe – I’m sorry. Instead of trying to control everything, just accept that you can’t. Just open yourself up to whatever happens, to all possibilities, and allow things to change and happen on their own. The only thing you can truly control is your reaction to things. So let go of the reins sometimes and just focus on being positive, no matter what happens.
8. Spending time with toxic people.
If you hang around with toxic people, it’s no surprise that you’re going to tend to be more unhappy. If you’re constantly exposing yourself to people who complain, have bad habits, and are just generally negative, it can rub off on you real quick. When you start spending time with positive people who have good habits and are in a place in their life that you want to be, then you’ll start to emulate them instead. I did a whole post on dealing with toxic people right here. I know it sucks to lose friends, but you know what sucks even more? Being dragged into their toxicity and being unhappy with yourself. Breaking away from them really can improve your life – I know this from experience. And the hurt will go away, I promise you.
9. Fearing failure.
Letting the fear of failure control you is asking for a limit to your happiness. Seriously, you know what’s worse than failure? Giving up the possibility of success and giving up your dreams in the process. I also wrote a post about my own fear of failure right here. So many super-duper-successful people (like J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and so many others) failed over and over again before they got to where they are today. But do you know why they succeeded? They didn’t fear failure or let it set them back. They just kept trying and fiercely chased their dreams. And they’re pretty damn happy now, don’t ya think?
10. Caring too much about what other people think.
If you’re looking for the quickest way to make yourself unhappy, look no further! This is something that is a constant struggle for me. It all comes down to this, though: No matter who you are, what you do, or how great you do it – there is always going to be someone out there who doesn’t like you. Always. There are going to be bitter people who are unhappy with themselves and project it onto you, there are going to be people who are just plain jealous, and there are going to be people who just… don’t like you. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s like this quote says:
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” -Dita Von Teese
So you can either choose to live your life wasting time, striving to get people who don’t matter to like you, or you can just stop caring what they think. It’s better to live your life doing things that make you happy than to live your life making yourself miserable, trying to please others.
Related reading: How to Stop Caring So Much What Other People ThinkYou can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches. Click To Tweet
11. Depending too much on others.
You can’t always rely on other people to make you happy. And even if these people make you happy, it’s not true happiness because it’s not coming from within you. If you’re always complaining that someone isn’t being appreciative of you, or your spouse is making you unhappy, or you feel like you’re always there for your friends when they aren’t there for you, maybe you should take a look at yourself. Yes, sometimes people suck but when it comes down to it, you’re the one responsible for your happiness. This kind of goes back to number four. If you’re truly happy with yourself, you won’t always need to seek an outside source of happiness and you won’t react so negatively to other people’s behavior.
Related reading: How to Be More Independent
Do you have any habits you think are holding you back from true happiness?