Stop These Bad Habits to Improve Your Personal Life

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January 7, 2020
bad habits

If you aren’t happy in your personal life, you aren’t alone. According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, the United States is ranked 19th in happiness. This is a decline compared to previous years. While you can’t control the world around you, you can control how it affects you. Certain bad habits may be negatively impacting your emotional well-being, without you even realizing it. Read on to learn how to rid yourself of bad habits to improve your personal life.

Stop negative self-talk

Everybody has their own internal critic. When you let that voice inside your head dominate your thoughts, however, you will find yourself engaging in excessive negativity. This can increase stress and lead to cognitive distortions, making you more likely to blame yourself or catastrophize situations. In the long term, negative self-talk can result in lower self-esteem. It’s even been linked to an increased risk of depression.

Protect your mental health by reframing your thought process. For example, if you are on a diet and indulge in a sweet treat, don’t get down on yourself. Instead, focus on the progress you’ve made so far and remind yourself that this small indulgence will keep you motivated. There are also apps you can download to encourage positive thinking. ThinkUp lets you record affirmations in your own voice, for instance, while Shine sends you text messages with inspiration material like quotes from role models.

Another smart tactic is to remind yourself how much you are loved. If you are a parent, for example, think about the way your little one looks at you when they first wake up or cries for you when they are hurt. Sometimes, just pausing for a moment to remember how important you are can stave off negative thoughts and put you in the right frame of mind to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead.

Stop putting off uncomfortable tasks

When you have something on your to-do list that you aren’t looking forward to, you tend to put it off. Maybe it’s preparing for that presentation you have to give at work or simply doing the laundry. Putting off unpleasant activities can actually result in a state known as anticipatory dread. This allows your anxiety to fester, often getting worse with time. Instead of procrastinating, tackle such tasks head-on.

Take funeral planning, for instance (admittedly an extreme example). The thought of preparing for your own final arrangements might sound morbid, but many people find it brings great peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing that your precise wishes (such as whether you prefer cremation or burial) will be adhered to. Funeral pre-planning also spares your family stress in trying to make these decisions for you once you have passed on. You can even pre-pay for your funeral, alleviating your loved ones of this financial burden as well.

Maybe you are not quite ready for such a somber thought process. And that’s okay. Look around you. You will find many undone projects whether it is something as simple as refilling the toilet paper holder or fixing a loose board on the deck. You might also pick up the phone and call someone whom you’ve been avoiding. Bad blood with your sibling? Power through these feelings and make amends. Whether you procrastinate on things big or small, the longer you wait, the more they’ll affect you.

Stop ignoring your physical well-being

Daily life keeps you busy. Juggling work or school plus family and friends doesn’t leave much time to take care of yourself. Ignoring your own health will only backfire in the long run. Your physical well-being has a direct impact on your mental health. For instance, what you eat impacts your gut health, and poor gut health has been linked to ailments like anxiety and depression.

Make sure you are getting a healthy balance of whole grains, proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Plate guide gives you an idea of how much you should eat of each food group. When it comes to exercise, strive for at least 20 minutes of continuous physical activity per day. This is the amount shown to foster mental wellness.

Of course, you can’t spend your entire day watching what you eat or exercising. A few ways you can prioritize yourself here are to pre-make meals for the next few days and sneak and exercise in when you can. Do sit-ups while you watch TV, listen to an audiobook while out for a jog, or make a point to play with the kids for an hour every afternoon.

Stop favoring screen time over socializing

At the end of a long day, it’s tempting to crash on the couch and binge-watch your favorite series. While this is fine on some days, if you are constantly declining social invitations in favor of television time, your health will suffer. Too much screen time is bad for your physical and mental health. Additionally, according to Psychology Today, socializing can stave off dementia and decrease feelings of depression.

Plan at least one night per month out with your friends. Further, turn off the tube and put down the phone during dinner time so that you can enjoy an evening meal with your family. Don’t lose sight of the fact that how you interact with the real world matters to both you and those around you.

Eliminate these bad behaviors, and you will find your physical and mental health improve. Tackle one of the above tips at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Be patient and give yourself a few months to adjust to your new habits. Remind yourself that this is all about fostering your own happiness in the long run.


Emma Grace Brown

Emma Grace Brown is a strong and smart woman who loves to live life by her own rules. Her blog,, encourages others to follow the "My Rules, My Life" philosophy.

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