Last Updated on January 21, 2023
Here’s a list of 20 toxic habits to give up right now
I’m really interested in personal development, which is all about improving the quality of your life, so the following post is about 20 toxic habits to quit if you’re interested in changing your life immediately.
About 40% of the activities we perform every day are automatic. For example, this means we don’t have to remind ourselves to breathe. However, there are also daily bad habits that you do that you might not even be aware of.
These are called toxic habits, and you need to break these toxic habits if you want to live your life to the fullest and use your full potential to achieve your dream life.
Now I’m going to list these 20 nasty habits and also some suggestions on how to break toxic habits.
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Let’s talk about harmful habits you should quit immediately
Unhealthy living habits
Everyone falls victim to bad habits every now and then. Some habits are relatively easy to overcome and have no huge impact on your health, such as biting your pen or fingernails.
However, unhealthy living habits are certainly among those toxic habits to quit. It happens often that when we’re stressed, we tend to make unhealthy life choices. We drink less water, we eat junk food, and we don’t get enough sleep. Let’s not even talk about smoking and drinking, as these can have an enormous negative impact on your health.
The choices we make now will have a huge impact on how we feel in 10–20–30 years, so we have to be wise and take care of our health preventively.
Solution: Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but you can always aim for more. Cut down on junk food and start introducing different fruits and vegetables into your diet.
I have to mention that I’m no diet expert, but I think you can eat whatever you want to. You just have to do it in moderation. A bar of chocolate won’t do you any good, but a few bites won’t kill you. That’s just my five cents.
Make sure to get enough sleep, as it’s the backbone of your well-being. Sleep deprivation decreases your mood and energy levels, makes you irritable, and reduces your brain functions and overall health.
Seeking external validation
Seeking other people’s approval isn’t always a healthy habit to have. We are constantly looking for other people’s acceptance and praise. However, our values should not be tied to what other people think of or say about us and our actions.
Even independent people need validation in certain parts of life, but they also accept their own self-validation if they don’t get it from somewhere else.
Social media also plays a huge role in our desire to be validated, as we tend to rely our self-worth on how many likes and shares we get. Validation itself isn’t a bad thing, but it becomes toxic if it is the focus of everything you do.
Solution: Use positive self-talk to replace the need for external validation. Remember that your self-worth can’t be tied to other people. Be mindful and acknowledge your feelings. If you feel like social media affects you too much, take a break from it.
Comparing yourself to other people
Comparing yourself to other people and being too critical of yourself are also bad habits to get rid of. It happens quite often that we do these things without realizing it. Keep in mind that no one is you and that is your superpower.
Comparisons can be both positive and negative. If you compare yourself to the person you were a year or two ago, that’s positive and shows you’ve grown as a person. If you compare yourself to your neighbor or a fellow blogger, that’s pretty destructive.
Solution: Don’t let fear guide your choices. No one is perfect, and being perfect isn’t the solution either. Turn comparison into inspiration.
Be inspired by other people and let them show you what you can achieve too. Focus your energy on what you’re capable of and how you can improve and become better. Remember, you can be anything, but not everything.
Not taking care of your mental health
Remember, mental health IS physical health. They are correlated, which means they affect each other. Your mental health affects your physical health and vice versa. Not properly looking after your mental health can result in stress and other serious health problems.
I’ve also written a post on how I efficiently take care of my mental health where I share my favorite 13 tips on how to keep yourself sane.
Solution: Find mental health support that works for you. Have a healthy life, practice affirmations to be mindful, do things you like, practice self-care (TIP: here’s a list of 166 self-care ideas), don’t forget to unwind, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
I think everyone has gossiped at least once in their lives, and that’s okay. However, it’s a toxic habit that is ruining your life. Gossiping is almost always negative and spreads negative vibes everywhere.
By judging other people, you are assuming the worst, which is not a beautiful trait to have. Giving off positive vibes is a much more attractive trait.
And think about it. If someone gossips to you, how can you be sure that this person won’t gossip about you as well? Besides, gossiping and talking negatively about other people affects and hurts only you and your vibe.
Solution: Whenever you feel like gossiping or start hearing some kind of gossip, ask yourself: “What will I gain from this information? How does it change my life?” You can always stop and try changing the subject as well, or if it doesn’t help, walk away.
Negative self-talk is absolutely among some very bad habits to get rid of
Negative self-talk and toxic thoughts trigger a pessimistic attitude. A pessimistic attitude prevents you from reaching your full potential. It limits your ability to believe in yourself and reduces your confidence in achieving goals.
Our thoughts determine our feelings. Our thoughts, however, can be changed, and, therefore, our feelings as well.
When we’re facing a crisis situation, we tend to exaggerate our mistakes and errors and predict things we have no control over. Ask yourself: “How will negative thinking help me become better?” The answer is: it won’t. It will only cause you stress.
Solution: To change how you feel, you need to learn how to think. Change your inner voice. Identify your problematic mental health problems and learn to let go of them. My favorite thing to remind myself is that positive thoughts attract positive things and negative thoughts attract negative things.
Thinking instead of doing
Striving for perfectionism is something that holds a lot of us back and prevents us from reaching our full potential. Forget about what society thinks. You are the only person in charge of your life, and the only way you can live your dream life is by taking action.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wait for next week, or next year. Start now. What do you have to lose? Think about the time you spend thinking instead of doing it. It’s wasted time that you could use to work on your goals instead.
Solution: Break your goal into smaller chunks and celebrate every victory to keep you motivated. Use the five-second rule. When you have a specific goal in mind, immediately start working on it. Do not procrastinate and delay it.
Not being your authentic self
You’re one of a kind. Act in ways that show who you really are and how you really feel. Don’t be a follower of social expectations. By pretending to be someone you’re not, you’re telling yourself that the real you is not okay. Hiding your true self might result in loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
We were born into this world for a reason, and each of us has an important role to play. Yet we’re constantly being told how to act, how to feel, what to eat, and where to go. This prevents us from reaching our full potential as we’re not doing the things we desire. We’re not growing.
Solution: Learn to love yourself. Ask yourself what you truly believe in. Be brave enough to face your fears and speak your truth, even if other people don’t agree with you. Realize that you are an amazing person with all of your quirks and flaws, and you should absolutely not be ashamed of showing your true self.
Bad financial habits
The hardest part about bad financial habits is realizing they exist. If you realize you’re spending more than you earn, making impulse purchases, and not monitoring your spending, then you can make adjustments to break this toxic habit.
I’ve written a great post about simple things to stop buying in order to save tons of money. Make sure to check it out if you want to learn more.
Solution: Pay off all of your credit cards if you have any. Create a financial budget and follow it. See if you can cut some expenses (using Netflix instead of cable, maybe?).
If you have borrowed money, stop paying only the minimum payment, because the longer the loan period is, the more interest you’ll pay in the long run. If you’re in need of more money, you can always start a side business. It’s a good time to start a blog if you haven’t already done it.
Worrying about things that you have no control over
Worrying about things that you can’t control is another one of those toxic habits to quit. Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening, but it will stop you from enjoying the good things in life.
I once read a quote that said: “Worrying is stupid. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”, and I couldn’t agree more. Bonus tip: if you’re looking for motivational boss babe quotes to get your daily boost of inspiration, make sure to check out my post about motivational boss lady quotes.
Solution: Identify the things you can control and the things you can’t. Accept the things you can’t change. Every time you face an obstacle, ask yourself: “Can I solve this problem, or do I need to change how I feel about this problem?”
If something is within your control, solve the problem. If it’s something that’s out of your control, then try changing your perspective or emotional response to it.
There are so many things you can delay and probably will delay, such as leaving that project you’re supposed to work on until the very last minute. There’s a quote by Benjamin Franklin that goes like this: “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”
People tend to delay and procrastinate things because they experience demotivating factors (anxiety, fear of failure, stress, or even laziness). However, the more we delay something, the more anxiety it causes. So it’s like a dead circle. Delaying our duties also leads to poor performance as we have less time to work on these tasks.
Solution: Think of the reasons why you’re delaying certain things. Are you scared? Are you too lazy? Remove any distractions, rearrange your priorities, and create a goal list. Focus on the hardest task first and reward yourself every now and then to remind yourself of the great feeling that comes with achieving your goals.
I also use the five-second rule, which means that I give myself just five seconds to get up and start working on whatever I have to work on. This way, I won’t have time to make any excuses.
Not letting go of your past
Not letting go of your past and therefore not forgiving yourself will only hurt your mental well-being. That’s why it’s among those very bad habits to get rid of. We all feel pain, and we have different methods for coping with pain. We need to learn to move forward and use our past as a growing experience.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything that happened in the past led you to the life you’re living right now. It’s part of evolving and growing. We can’t change the past, but we can choose how to move forward.
Solution: Practice mindfulness and being in the present. Your past does not define you. What matters are the actions you take now. Be kind to yourself and don’t try to suppress negative emotions.
Analyze what causes your negative emotions (but do it only once, do not dwell on it) and learn to let go of them. Whenever you feel anxious, do breathing exercises or practice affirmations to calm you down. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help when needed.
Self-doubt and low self-esteem
Not believing in yourself is hurtful and can also prevent you from reaching your full potential. Society tends to set certain standards for us, and for some reason, we feel the need to follow those standards. However, other people can not and should not determine your self-worth, because only you are in charge of your life.
I feel like most of us struggle with self-doubt and low self-esteem. Failing doesn’t make you a failure. Even successful people fail every now and then. Every mistake we make is meant to teach us something so that we can strive to be better.
Solution: Stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s such a self-esteem killer. Accept that everyone is different and focus on your strengths. Practice daily affirmations to keep your mind balanced and surround yourself with positive people who support and motivate you.
Keeping negative people in your life
I think we all know that negative vibes attract negativity and positive vibes attract positivity. It can be very hard to stay positive if you’re constantly surrounded by toxic people. The more time you spend around negative people, the more negative you can become as well.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and add value to your life. It might sound cliche, but you really have one life, so make it count. Surrounding yourself with positive people motivates you to reach further and work harder.
Solution: Don’t be afraid to cut negative people out of your life or at least reduce the amount of time you spend with them. It might sound harsh, but your mental health has to be your number one priority.
Being ungrateful is also among the bad habits to quit
Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Actually, we have a lot to be thankful for. Some of these things seem too “ordinary”, but not all of us have clean water, people who love us, or a roof above our heads. In some parts of the world, there’s still a war going on. Can you imagine having to live constantly in such fear?
Solution: Start a daily gratitude journal. Here’s a good 5-minute gratitude journal that I recommend. Make it a daily habit to say out loud at least 3 things that you’re thankful for. Be grateful for every simple thing you have. Set daily intentions and focus on your goals. You’ll start to see the world as a good place to live in.
If you’re looking for other daily habits to adopt that would drastically change your life, make sure to check out this post about daily habits that will improve your quality of life.
Spending too much time on social media
It goes without mentioning that checking your phone the first thing in the morning and mindlessly scrolling on your phone to conquer boredom is 100% among those toxic habits to quit immediately. If you’re bored, here’s my list of 192 productive things to do instead of scrolling through Facebook.
Social media has a lot of positive sides, but it also tends to make us question our self-worth by lowering our self-esteem and confidence.
Solution: Instead of grabbing your phone the first thing in the morning, drink a glass of water, make your bed and practice daily affirmations. Here’s my list of 365 powerful affirmations to reprogram your mind.
Don’t use social media during your breaks. Instead of that, go for a little walk or read a book. Unfollow all the people who make you feel bad and limit your smartphone usage before bed.
Caring about what other people think
Caring about what other people think is something I’m really guilty of, although I’m getting better at it. We all want to feel accepted, but we also need to know where to draw a line.
Think about it. How does it affect YOU if someone thinks you’re not intelligent? It’s just their opinion and it does not define who you are. It’s not their life, they don’t know what’s best for you, so it’s none of their business. No one besides you should have a say in how you live and what you do.
Solution: Let go of perfection. Stop trying to be liked by everyone, because you don’t even like everybody. You need to stop caring. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you work on your self-worth and realize other people’s opinions don’t matter, you will start feeling much better about yourself.
Why are not resting and running on empty on my list of toxic habits to quit? If you’re not getting enough rest and you’re spinning like a squirrel in a wheel, you’ll soon experience burnout. It can be quite hard to recover from burnout (although not impossible), so it’s better to take small steps every day to prevent burnout.
I think it’s okay to sometimes feel tired or unmotivated, but it shouldn’t be like this every day. Don’t be afraid to turn to a professional if you’re experiencing burnout symptoms. After all, remember, you can do anything, but not everything.
Solution: Turn to other people and delegate tasks that can be delegated. Reevaluate your priorities. Eat a balanced diet and get some exercise every day. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day. Take small breaks between your tasks to avoid burnout. It’s okay to take a full day off to watch Netflix, eat pizza, and recharge.
Not stepping out of our comfort zone
Being scared of everything holds us back from reaching our full potential. Think about it. What will happen if you try something new and fail? People will find out? But you shouldn’t care about what other people think, because if you do this, you’ll be their prisoner.
Most of the time, you have nothing to lose if you try something new. Success happens when you leave your comfort zone. This is where the magic happens. When you’re in your comfort zone, you’ll feel comfortable. Your skills are not tested because you’re not doing anything new, and, therefore, you’re not evolving into the person you want to become.
Solution: If you’re scared of quitting this toxic habit, start small. Make changes to your daily routine. Face your fears and try something new every day. Ask yourself: “What will happen if I try it?” Don’t think about the negative effects, but rather what positive you can gain from it.
Not using your time effectively
There are multiple ways to misuse your time, whether it’s procrastinating, multitasking, not planning your day, and so on. It happens quite often that we misuse our time without even realizing it.
If you schedule your day, you’ll have more time in the long run because you’re not procrastinating. It will also reduce your stress because you know exactly what you’re going to do and you’re not running around like a headless chicken.
I’ve also written a blog post on how to efficiently increase your productivity to the max.
Solution: Prioritize your goals using the Eisenhower matrix. Set specific and measurable goals and write them down, as this helps to increase your efficiency. Time-block your day and take small breaks between tasks to avoid burnout. Do not multitask, but focus on only one task at a time, as it’s proven that multitasking affects your efficiency.
Start working on this list of toxic habits to quit immediately!
This is it for today’s list of harmful habits to get rid of. Let me know in the comments below about your list of habits to quit and how you plan on quitting them.