10 habits of people who constantly feel behind in life, according to psychology

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As humans, we all crave success, progress, and the feeling of moving forward in life.

However, there are times when we may feel stuck or as if we’re lagging behind.

This feeling of constantly being behind and not achieving as much as we’d like or should can take a heavy toll on our mental health.

According to psychology, there are certain habits that are common among people who constantly feel this way. These habits may contribute to feelings of underachievement and stagnation.

In this article, we’ll delve into these habits and how they can affect your perception of progress and achievement in life.

1) Procrastination

Procrastination is a common habit among those who constantly feel like they’re falling behind in life. It’s a sneaky habit that can creep up on you, often disguised as a need for perfection or simply waiting for the ‘right moment’.

You might find yourself putting off tasks because you believe you need the perfect conditions to start.

Maybe you think you need complete silence, or that you need to feel fully inspired and motivated.

Or perhaps you’re waiting for that perfect ‘Monday’ to kickstart your diet or exercise regime, or the ‘perfect moment’ to start your dream project.

Alternatively, you might be overwhelmed by the enormity of your tasks and decide to tackle them ‘later’, only to find that ‘later’ never comes.

In reality, procrastination often leads to more stress and a constant feeling of playing catch up.

Understanding that progress often comes from small steps taken consistently, rather than waiting for the perfect conditions, can be a game changer in overcoming this habit.

2) Negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is another habit common among individuals who constantly feel behind in life. This involves criticizing oneself excessively and focusing heavily on one’s shortcomings while dismissing achievements and progress made.

You’re your own harshest critic, constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling inadequate.

Phrases such as “I’m never good enough”, “I always mess up”, or “I can’t do anything right” may be frequent in your internal dialogue.

This constant self-criticism can lead to decreased motivation, lower self-esteem, and an overall feeling of being stuck or falling behind.

Recognizing these negative thought patterns and consciously working to replace them with more positive, constructive self-talk can be a significant step towards breaking this cycle and fostering a healthier mindset.

3) Fear of failure

Fear of failure is a pervasive habit that can keep you feeling perpetually behind in life. This fear can be so powerful that it prevents you from taking risks or stepping out of your comfort zone, often leading to stagnation.

Maybe you’ve got a brilliant business idea, but the thought of it potentially not working out stops you from taking the leap. Perhaps you’re passionate about music or writing, but the fear of rejection keeps you from sharing your work with others.

This fear can keep you trapped in a cycle of not trying, not failing, but also, unfortunately, not progressing.

But remember that failure is a part of growth and learning. Embracing it as a stepping stone rather than a setback can help overcome this fear and move forward in life.

4) Overworking

It might seem strange, but constantly working and being busy isn’t always a sign of progress. In fact, it can often be a habit that keeps you feeling behind in life.

You’re always the first to arrive and the last to leave the office, or you have a packed schedule with no time for rest or leisure.

You might equate being busy with being productive, but in reality, this constant busyness could be a way of escaping from dealing with important aspects of your life.

Overworking can lead to burnout and a lack of work-life balance, which can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and constant pressure.

Learning to take breaks, prioritizing self-care, and understanding that it’s okay to say no can help break this habit and bring more balance into your life.

5) Avoidance of emotions

We’re often taught to suppress our emotions, especially the uncomfortable ones.

We’re told to keep a stiff upper lip, to be strong, to not let anything get to us. But this avoidance of emotions can keep us feeling like we’re constantly playing catch up with life.

The problem is, when we suppress our emotions, they don’t just disappear; they linger beneath the surface, often causing more harm than good.

Acknowledging these feelings and allowing ourselves to experience them fully can be uncomfortable and even painful at times, but it’s a crucial part of emotional growth and moving forward in life.

6) Lack of self-care

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to put everyone else’s needs before our own. This can lead to neglecting our own self-care, a habit commonly seen in people who feel behind in life.

Maybe you’re always the one to lend a helping hand or a listening ear, leaving little time for your own needs and relaxation.

But it’s not selfish to prioritize your own health and well-being. Practicing self-care, whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee, or simply saying no when you’re overwhelmed, is crucial for maintaining balance in life.

Being kind to yourself and allowing yourself the time and space to rest and rejuvenate can make a world of difference in how you feel about your place in life.

It’s okay to put yourself first; you deserve care and kindness just as much as anyone else.

7) Perfectionism

In a world where perfection is often glorified, it’s easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism.

This habit, though seemingly positive, can actually keep you feeling constantly behind in life.

The truth is, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and have flaws, and that’s okay. It’s part of being human.

Embracing imperfection and learning to see the beauty in our flaws can help alleviate the pressure of perfectionism and allow us to move forward with more ease and self-compassion.

8) All work and no play

Remember the old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, it turns out that all work and no play can also make Jack feel perpetually behind in life.

But hey, life’s not meant to be all about work! It’s also about experiencing joy, love, and laughter. So go ahead, take that dance class you’ve always wanted to try, spend a lazy afternoon reading your favorite book, or have a fun night out with friends.

Embracing the lighter side of life not only adds joy to your days but can also recharge your batteries and give you a fresh perspective, helping you feel more in sync with life.

9) Playing the victim

Let’s be real. Life can be tough. It can throw you curveballs and knock you down. But consistently seeing yourself as a victim can keep you stuck, feeling perpetually behind in life.

While it’s completely normal to feel down and out sometimes, living in a constant state of self-pity can prevent you from taking proactive steps to improve your situation.

It’s time to take control. Stop waiting for life to happen to you and start making life happen for you.

You’re stronger than you think, and you have the power to shape your own destiny. Remember, life isn’t about what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens.

10) Not believing in yourself

At the heart of all these habits lies one crucial element: self-belief. Not believing in your own abilities, talents, and worth can be the biggest reason you feel behind in life.

But here’s the truth: You are enough. You are capable. You are worthy. And you have everything within you to achieve your goals and dreams.

Believing in yourself is the foundation for moving forward and catching up with life. So let this be your daily mantra: I am capable, I am worthy, and I believe in myself.

Because once you start believing in yourself, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Final thoughts

If you’ve recognized some of these habits in yourself, remember that you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with these patterns, and it’s completely okay to admit that you’re feeling behind in life.

What’s important is recognizing these habits and taking steps to overcome them.

As psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”

Remember, you are enough just as you are. Your value is not determined by your productivity or what you achieve but by who you are as a person.

You have the power to change your life and the way you feel about your place in it. 

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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