Much too often, we hold ourselves back from achieving the best version of ourselves. It can manifest in many ways, but it’s often toxic habits that hold us back from a better life. Sometimes, these habits don’t seem bad on the surface, but we often go overboard, turning what could be considered a positive quality into a toxic habit. Here are 5 toxic habits that you should break now for a better life.
1. Thirsting for approval.
Being liked is a worthy goal. We want people to like us and we make choices every day with this in mind. But too often we go too far and begin to thirst for approval. When you are a good person, you make informed and well-thought out choices, and you understand your personal limitations; being yourself will attract the kind of people you should be around.
Doing things just to get approval can leave you in terrible situations. You may be put in positions where you do things that are against your moral code or even worse, against the law. Whether it’s a boss or co-worker at work who is pushing you to cut corners or a relationship that is pushing you to do things outside your comfort level, thirsting for approval can be very toxic.
It rears its head in many ways. Often times, you end up being “too nice” and getting taken advantage of by friends or family members. Rather than doing the things that benefit you, you are always trying to win approval. And rarely does it even work. I’ve met many people pleasers who are never truly happy. When they fail at winning approval, they try harder. When they win approval, it’s never enough.
It’s important to do things for others, but it’s vital to do things that make you happy. The best way to win approval is to be yourself. When you thirst for approval, your proverbial cup will run empty. When you do things that fill your cup, you’ll be satisfied and people will notice.
2. Waiting for life to happen.
We’ve taken the old saying “good things come to those who wait” a step or ten too far. Being patient is important, no doubt. But at some point, patience becomes being lethargic and your life stops being your own. Find things you love and make them happen. Learn what you’re passionate about and do those things. Have fun. When you’re out living life, good things will happen. If you’re sitting on your couch hoping, it’s less likely that they will.
Be an active participant in your life. The people you spend time with, the things you do, and the career you choose will play a major part in other aspects of your life coming together. Don’t wait on life to happen. When you’re living life to the fullest, you’ll find that good things come your way.
3. Competing & comparing.
Being driven is great. And external motivation can help drive you to become a better person. But too often, it becomes all about keeping up with the Jones’s. When you try to one-up and base your opinion of yourself on what someone else is doing, it becomes toxic. Stop worrying about what others have and start focusing on what you truly want. Buy the things that make you happy and skip the purchases that you don’t want or need. You’ll find you are much happier when you live your life the way you want, rather than comparing it to someone else.
4. Relying too much on others.
Trying to go at it alone can be difficult, if not impossible. We need others. We depend on our families, friends, co-workers, and even strangers on a daily basis. But it’s easy to rely too much on others and lose a piece of ourselves. It’s vital that you control your own destiny and you maintain a level of responsibility for your life. Take help when you need it, but understand that ultimately only you are responsible for your life and your decisions.
At some point in everyone’s life, they must make decision and stick to it. These decisions come daily and can be as simple as what to have for breakfast and as challenging as who to marry. On some level, everyone must compromise and understand their limitations.
When I was looking for my first job, I wanted to make a great wage, choose my hours, and work with people I liked. My expectations may have been out of whack with no experience, so I ended up with a great job that didn’t pay nearly as well. I didn’t settle, but I did compromise. I took a look at my options and chose one I felt good about. If none were good, I would have kept looking.
It’s important to remain flexible and truly understand your limitations. But never settle. Whether it’s for a job, a relationship, or just a random decision, it’s important to understand your options and choose one that you are happy with. Settling for a relationship because you don’t want to be lonely or a job that you hate because you need a paycheck is a toxic way to live your life. Be picky and understand you may have to compromise, but never settle.