7 habits to ditch if you really want to change your life

Daily life is made up of habits, some big and some small.

They silently guide our destiny, unbeknown to us. Because so many go completely unnoticed.

But this article isn’t going to tell you to get up every day at 6 am if you want to change your life.

Nor will it insist that because your ‘body is a temple’ you should only eat organic from now on.

Because truly life-changing habits run deeper than the surface choices we make. They are shaped by your thoughts, mindset, and entire belief system.

We have to pay greater attention to these habits if we really want to change.

So here are some of the most insidious ones to watch out for…

1) Making excuses for yourself

Excuses are fine if you’re trying to explain to your boss why you are late for the third time this month. Or if you need a reason to get out of Sunday lunch with your parents.

Much like little white lies, they’re an occasionally necessary naughtiness that helps us get away with things.

But do yourself a favor and at least get real with yourself.

Because if you can’t be honest with yourself, you can’t change your life.

When we make excuses to ourselves, they’re just designed to make us feel better.

“I wish I could BUT…”

Yet we’re more prone to make a change when the pain and discomfort of not doing so becomes too great.

It’s one of those unfortunate quirks of life:

Suffering promotes change. Then we are forced to act.

Don’t kid yourself that:

  • You can’t
  • You will “one day”
  • Now isn’t the right time

Instead, have the guts to call it what it is:

An excuse.

2) Investing your time and energy in the wrong things

You would love to learn to code, but instead, you watch Netflix.

Hey, no judgment from me. This has been my problem with getting to grips with Portuguese for the last decade or so.

There are plenty of things I’d quite like in my life, but when it comes to making the trade-off, I discover I clearly don’t want them enough to put the effort in.

Some things we want, but not quite enough. That’s ok.

But then there are things that we REALLY want, yet we’re too busy doing less important stuff to get around to them.

That’s why it’s a good idea to take an inventory of your life priorities and ask yourself:

  • What is the most important to me right now? (I say right now because this will most likely change over the years)
  • What do I spend the most time doing?

Because that’s when we see that what we say we want versus what we actually DO aren’t matching up.

It’s ok to drop some desires because it turns out they’re not that important after all. But others you owe it to yourself to see through.

That may demand making sacrifices — one’s that push us out of our comfort zone.

3) Taking the path of least resistance

The reality is that it can feel nicer to make things easy on ourselves.

But this one comes down to avoiding challenges and doing anything for an easy life.

The benefits of taking this path are:

  • You can sidestep your fears
  • You don’t rock the boat with other people
  • You avoid the pain of failure

Sounds good, but there is of course a catch. And it’s a fairly sizable one:

You stay stuck exactly where you are.

We’ll all take the easy option in life every now and then. But do it consistently and your life never changes.

Because sadly, all those scary as-hell things we listed earlier are the trade-off of growth and progress.

That’s why if you want to change your life:

  • Give things a try, even when you don’t know how it will work out
  • Say yes to more opportunities
  • Go to different places, mingle with different people
  • Swap expectations for curiosity

In short:

Explore the world around you instead of staying on the well-trodden and seemingly safe path laid out in front of you. 

That’s going to require pushing mental barriers too…

4) Doubting yourself

This is undeniably one of the trickiest habits to ditch. It’s not as though we can just click our fingers and suddenly believe the sky is the limit.

Because so many of us feed ourselves doubt without even realizing it or knowing where it comes from.

Negative stories and beliefs play on a loop in the background. We’ve carried them so long they just feel normal.

They start in childhood and the environment you were raised. That begins to shape how you see yourself and the world around you.

I’ll level with you:

I don’t see myself ever becoming a billionaire.

Whilst some of the reason is that I’m too lazy to even try. Another reason is that this was never part of my reality.

Growing up in a working-class environment, I didn’t mingle with so many super-rich peeps.

So one of my self-limiting beliefs that became slowly ingrained was about my earning potential and what was possible for “someone like me”.

No question, this has probably held me back.

The best way to counteract this sort of unhelpful BS is:

If it sounds cheesy then know that research has proved this to be effective.

5) Giving way too many f*cks

There are some f*cks we should give in life and some we shouldn’t.

Yet most of us waste a lot of emotional energy on the latter.

And oddly enough, learning to let go of caring quite so much can lead to greater success.

In my younger years, one of the best auditions (I used to act) that I ever did was with a serious hangover.

And the reason why was because in this delicate state, I was able to let go.

I was less in my head. I didn’t overthink it. I just got on with it.

Aka, I didn’t give a f*ck.

Now, I’m not suggesting getting drunk is ever a good solution for moving past fear. But stressing out less is.

  • We’re more likely to give things a go when we’re not so obsessed with the outcome
  • We’re more likely to put ourselves out there when we aren’t worrying about what everyone else thinks of us
  • We allow ourselves to be imperfect
  • We stop looking to others for permission
  • We’re less likely to get sidelined by people-pleasing tendencies

A slightly more delicate way of saying ‘not giving a f*ck’ is learning to let go.

6) Following someone else’s roadmap

The irony is not lost on me that I’m simultaneously writing an advice article, but am about to tell you to listen to yourself more.

There are plenty of success stories out there telling you what the secret to fame and fortune is. There are equally as many gurus who will let you know the key to internal joy.

It may be an obvious point:

But if you want to change your life, you’ve got to make sure it’s based on what actually matters most to you.

Because it’s more tempting than we think to go off chasing someone else’s bliss.

We may end up doing it because we want to make our folks proud, impress our peers, or feel like we’ve “made it” and are finally “somebody”.

We may even do it for the simple fact it’s been pushed down our throats as the “expected” path from the moment we were born.

But be careful what you chase, a lot of it is fool’s gold.

And when you make changes for the wrong reasons it always ends up in disappointment.

7) Thinking that more is always better

What if you started to really appreciate everything you already have?

I know, I know. You came here looking for practical tips on becoming next-level successful.

Not nauseating cliches about how the best things in life are free.

But hear me out…

Imagine if you paid more attention to life’s little blessings.

Savoring that first morning coffee of the day. Basking in the warm glow of the afternoon sun.

How would your life change if you got up each morning feeling deep gratitude instead of lack or longing?

Because the secret to happiness that our Capitalist society doesn’t want us to believe is that we don’t usually need more.

Whether that’s more stuff or more achievements and accolades. 

We just need to get better at noticing what’s already there in front of us.

Don’t take my word for it, that’s what the research proves.

I am a huge fan of personal development. I totally believe the greater self-awareness you have, the better.

But I do think there is a downside to this increasingly popular industry:

The assumption that you should always be striving.

Yet, maybe, just maybe, we should actually be doing more savoring instead.

Yes, it’s cool to want to reach your potential. But whilst you’re doing that, stop to appreciate how you’re already a walking miracle.

Make that simple but powerful mindset shift and your life will drastically change, without needing to go out and find “more”.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

If you want to be more easy going, say goodbye to these 7 worries

People who try too hard to impress others usually have these 14 insecurities