Nobody is free of bad habits. From junk food to cigars, from being late to constantly being on our phones, there are things we know we should give up.
Bad habits come at a cost--in health, in reputation, in money. But some are worse than others. Here are 11 habits that we pay for with reduced happiness. Which of them might be making your life less rich and good than it could be?
1. Neglect. When you habitually ignore responsibilities and the things you are accountable for, they weigh on you even more heavily and take a toll on your happiness--even (maybe especially) when you fall back on the excuse of neglecting small things to accomplish bigger ones. Over time, neglecting responsibilities causes terrible damage, and neglecting opportunities for happiness causes deep regret. Stay on top of things for your best chance of happiness.
2. Complaining. Seeking success in life and business can be difficult, but constant complaining makes it harder than it needs to be--and it's tiresome to those around you. If you frequently find fault in things or focus on things that aren't working or seem unfair, you're hurting yourself. Instead, embrace the positives and the places where you can make a change for the good.
3. Self-doubt. For many people, self-doubt is a major obstacle to a great life--few things will sabotage your success more. It's that troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back from seizing opportunities and fulfilling responsibilities. It's the self-talk that tells you you're not good enough, often without you even being aware of it. Tune in to the messages you give yourself and make sure they're positive.
4. Blaming. Blaming others takes time and energy away from your own self-improvement and efforts. You can spend your life blaming the world for your troubles, but when you do, you deny your own responsibility for creating the life and leadership you choose. When you stop blaming others you can begin to truly connect to your own power.
5. Control. Especially when things are out of control, you may be in the habit of trying to take control. Most of the time that's an illusion, of course--you have little to no power to change anything outside yourself. What you can control is your attitudes and responses. Free yourself of the rest and let things take their own natural course, and you'll be much happier.
6. Criticism. The time you spend criticizing others is time you could be spending improving yourself. People who incessantly criticize other people are generally unhappy about something in their own lives, and they criticize others in an effort to feel better about themselves. If that sounds painfully familiar, remind yourself that it takes little character to condemn, and far more to find happiness in understanding others and yourself.
7. Bossiness. People who are busy dictating to others often never pause to take responsibility for themselves. If you truly seek happiness, then start to take responsibility for yourself. When you demonstrate responsibility and collaboration instead of dictating to those around you, you gain respect and trust.
8. Rejection. Some level of rejection is healthy and even necessary to maintain high standards, but if you're in the habit of rejecting everything that comes your way, maybe it's because of fear or a habit of negativity. Rejecting ideas, thoughts and opportunities before you actually give them a chance can keep you from experiencing new things and benefiting from new ideas. Keep your critical facilities but learn to trust and let things in.
9. Manipulation. Especially under mounting pressure, you may sometimes feel that the only way to get things done is by manipulating others. But when you manipulate, you cross important boundaries and risk your own happiness as well as that of others. Instead, go straight for what you know you want, with room for those you can persuade to come with you of their own free will.
10. Deception. Deception is another case where people convince themselves that the end justifies the means. You can rationalize and say that your particular deception isn't hurting anyone, but when you allow deception--whether it's to protect yourself, advance your ideas, or even to spare others--you harm your own integrity, and that doesn't make for happiness.
11. Selfishness. Those who are self-serving think only of themselves, with a "what have you done for me lately" mentality. When you're focused only on yourself, you may feel that the world only is centered around you, but in driving people away you risk emptiness and the loss of the connections that make happiness possible.
If you count any of these among your own bad habits, start learning how to reverse them today. Resolve not to let them interfere with your prospects for happiness.