12 common habits that secretly sabotage your happiness

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

We form most habits subconsciously, without realizing that some of them may be harming our happiness levels and quality of life! 

But it may come as a surprise that I’m not going to discuss the common bad habits we all know about such as smoking, drinking too much, or gambling.

No – in this article we’re going to look at very common habits that secretly sabotage your happiness, as well as how to break free and live a more fulfilling life! 

1) Overthinking every situation 

The first habit that’s secretly sabotaging your happiness is overthinking every situation – to the extreme.

Here’s the thing, it’s normal to consider the worst-case scenario in some situations, especially when taking risks, but if you find yourself ruminating over every little decision, it could be holding you back from living life to the fullest!

I know how hard it can be to stop overthinking everything, so start small. Try meditation to bring yourself back to the present moment, and journaling to help you clear your thoughts.

2) Comparing yourself to others 

Next up is comparing yourself to others

Not only is it exhausting, but you’ll never win! Because there’s always someone out there who has more than you. But that’s why it’s important to remember…there’s always someone with less, too! 

This habit robs us of happiness because we stop focusing on ourselves and get lost in looking at what others have or are doing. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way…

Whenever you find yourself comparing your life to other people, remember that we’re all on our own individual journeys. Focus on your strengths and values, and one extra tip – get off social media! 

None of those lifestyles are as rosy in real life as they seem through the camera lens! 

3) Staying in your comfort zone 

When was the last time you pushed yourself to do something that scares you?

If you can’t remember, this is likely a habit you’ve formed that’s sabotaging your happiness…not to mention your self-development! 

The benefits of taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone include:

But if you struggle to find the courage to try new things, the best thing is to take it one step at a time.

I’m not suggesting you jump out of a plane or move to a foreign country, but why not try eating in a restaurant alone or taking on a solo DIY project? 

4) Seeking external validation 

If you find yourself constantly seeking external validation, not only is it another habit that secretly sabotages your happiness, but you’re reducing your self-esteem and confidence in the process too!

You see, the more you rely on other people to feel good about yourself, the more you become reliant on external feedback.

True happiness comes from making yourself happy and feeling confident about your decisions. 

So, how to combat this?

Try practicing self-love and rebuilding your inner connection. Make your opinion the one that counts the most, and avoid basing your emotions on how others make you feel!

5) Procrastination 

Ah, procrastination! It’s something that affects most of us from time to time, but if you’re constantly procrastinating, you could be affecting your happiness levels!


Well, the less you get done, the more frustrated you’ll feel. I know I feel pretty crap when I’ve spent the day scrolling through my phone or lost in Youtube videos rather than getting on with important tasks. 

So, how can you get out of the habit of procrastination? 

Break your tasks down into small chunks. Set a timer and remove distractions like your phone or TV. Reward yourself whenever you complete a task, as this will keep you motivated and focused! 

6) Holding grudges 

Next up on habits that secretly sabotage your happiness is holding grudges…

I know this is a tough one, some people really don’t deserve to be forgiven! 

But forgiveness should be for yourself more than for them. 

When you hold onto a grudge, it essentially stops you from moving on with your life. These negative feelings remain trapped within you, and they most certainly can seep into other areas, threatening your overall happiness. 

Here’s a tip to let go of grudges:

Acknowledge how you’re feeling (because your feelings are valid) but learn how to practice empathy and forgiveness. Do it for yourself above all – see it as a form of self-care and love. 

And finally, remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget or allow those people back into your life!

7) Not valuing self-care 

Now, I’ve mentioned self-care and self-love a few times already, so this should be a big clue that happiness lies there! 

And not valuing yourself or your well-being is another habit that secretly ruins your happiness…

The truth is, when you take care of yourself and prioritize your mental and physical health, your mood naturally improves! 

So, start by doing the following:

  • Making sure you eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and get regular, uninterrupted sleep! 
  • Spend time with yourself – get out into nature or throw yourself into your favorite hobbies, the point is to get plenty of “me time”. 
  • Exercise regularly – not only will you feel better inside and out, but physical activity releases happy hormones! 
  • Spend time with loved ones – not only will they bring you happiness but feeling connected with others is crucial for your mental health!

8) Perfectionism 

Are you the type of person who can’t walk away from a task until it’s 100% perfect?

Do you apply exceptionally high standards to everything you do?

I’m sorry to say but right now, you are your own worst enemy! 

You see, when you set the bar so high for yourself, you’re doomed to feel down when you can’t reach that expectation. 

And while it’s great to aim high, you need to be realistic. 

Try setting smaller goals and rewarding yourself when you achieve certain milestones. Don’t wait for the end result to feel good, it’s the journey and what you learn that truly counts! 

9) Staying “put”

Whether that be in a toxic relationship, an unfulfilling job, or a town that you’ve outgrown…staying “put” is another habit that is ruining your happiness! 

Yes, it might feel comfortable and safe, but as we’ve already discussed, nothing much happens in the comfort zone! 

If you’re in the habit of remaining in situations that no longer serve you, it’s time to take action. 

Make a list of the areas of your life that need shaking up, and make a plan to try something new. I know this will be scary and overwhelming, so break your goals down and start from there!

10) Isolating yourself during difficult times 

I get it…when you’re down in the dumps the last thing you want is for the whole world to know. You don’t want to bring down your friends or family or make them worry. 

But here’s the thing…

This is another habit that’s sabotaging your happiness because isolation breeds loneliness. And loneliness, when you’re already struggling, is terrible for your mental health. 

So, whilst you shouldn’t post publicly on your socials, you absolutely should reach out to a good friend or family member. 

Even if you don’t want to talk about your issues, just meet them for a coffee and chat about the weather! The point is, being around company can do wonders in increasing your happiness levels. 

11) Living in the future or the past 

Another habit that secretly sabotages your happiness is not living in the present moment.

If you find yourself lost in past memories or constantly worrying about the future, you’re unable to fully enjoy life right now

If you want to be happier, it’s time to bring yourself back to reality. 

Learn to let go of grudges and heal from past traumas by practicing self-care and love…and seek therapy if needed.

And avoid worrying about the future by focusing on what’s in your control RIGHT NOW. 

You can’t predict the future, but you can take steps today to ensure whatever happens later down the line is positive!

12) Complaining 

And a final habit that’s secretly sabotaging your happiness is complaining. 

Trust me – I used to complain about every little thing until I learned how important our inner voice is and just how much it affects our moods.

If you’re constantly looking for the negatives in life, you’ll feel negative too.

But if you focus on the good stuff, you’ll soon adopt a positive mindset and start appreciating what you have! 

So, try this:

For the next week, try to stop yourself every time you’re about to complain (unless it’s something valid and worth complaining about). Instead, focus on something good that has happened, and don’t give so much importance to all of life’s little grievances! 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

10 things mentally strong women never do

The protector: 7 signs you have a guardian personality