If you really don’t want to stagnate in life, say goodbye to these 8 habits

If you aren’t growing, you aren’t truly living. 

Life is all about moving forward, about evolving as a person every day, however marginal. 

Contrary to what some might think, the world is a vast, rich place with fresh experiences, lessons, and knowledge at every corner. 

People who neglect this tend to stagnate in life, a status quo that can take its toll on you if left unchecked. 

It’s in your interest to start living. Really living. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the habits you need to let go of if you don’t want to stagnate in life. 

Once you get an idea of things, you can start making the appropriate shifts. 

Let’s get to it! 

1) Ignoring your health

When unhealthy habits become the norm, we tend to feel pretty crappy about ourselves, physically, emotionally, and mentally. 

Think about it: if you regularly gorge yourself on Flaming Hot Cheetos and soda (yes, even diet soda), get blackout drunk weekly, rarely exercise, etc. this will undoubtedly affect your energy levels and overall morale and motivation in life. 

When prolonged, these bad health habits lead to stagnation, among other issues. 

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. 

When you have a fitness routine, prioritize a balanced diet, drink booze in moderation, and get adequate sleep, you’ll generally feel energized and focused, ready to tackle life and whatever challenges come your way. 

2) Over-reliance on comfort zones

Here’s the thing: staying within your comfort zone is the easy way out, technically speaking. 

It requires minimal physical or mental exertion and minimal risk. 

It’s safe and predictable, hence its appeal to many. 

But the truth is, clinging to a comfort zone will almost always limit your personal and professional growth, causing you to stagnate indefinitely. 

The high-achievers of the world are well aware that to achieve anything of value in this life, at least some element of risk will always be involved. 

You’ll see how diverse and exciting the world can be once you break down your self-imposed walls and begin to challenge yourself. 

At that point, there will be no stopping you. Real talk. 

3) Constantly comparing yourself to others

Guess what? Comparison really is the thief of joy. 

When it comes to comparing, we have to be careful, particularly in this day and age where everyone is posting the best versions of their lives online for all of us to see (and compare.) 

The truth is that true happiness and contentment should exclusively come from within, from deep in your soul, not from how everyone else is doing. 

When we get caught up comparing ourselves to others, life becomes a perpetual competition; something that can eventually diminish our self-worth and distract us from what truly counts in life. 

So if you tend to compare yourself to others, try to let that habit go

Remember, things like success and growth are relative. 

Focus on your own journey and measure progress against your past self, not other people.

4) Procrastination

Once we get into the habit of chronically procrastinating, it’s a tough cycle to break. 

The thing about procrastination is that it’s such an easy trap to fall into.

When you delay tasks and decisions, this leads to missed opportunities–and therefore increased stress, even guilt. 

The latter negative feelings can rule over us, and eventually, we get stuck, deep in a rabbit hole of procrastination. 

Trust me, it’s not a great place to be. 

Actively developing a proactive mindset is the way to go

If you tend to get overwhelmed, break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and start setting deadlines. 

You got this. 

5) Allowing distractions to dominate

In case you haven’t noticed, we are living through the golden age of distractions. 

And frankly, nobody is safe. 

Just the other day, I realized I was mindlessly scrolling through reels on my phone for over an hour. 

When I finally emerged from the digitally-induced trance, I felt numb to the world, almost catatonic. 

If trivial distractions, digital or otherwise, become your status quo, you need to change things up. 

So if you are susceptible to getting sidetracked easily, you should take extra precautions

Enhance your focus by setting particular times for binge-watching Netflix or browsing social media–and designate uninterrupted periods for work and relationships.

6) Refusing to learn from mistakes

Don’t be that person. 

Don’t be the guy or girl who keeps making the same mistakes in life so frequently that everyone gives up on them. 

Once you believe that you’re incapable of change, this is a blow to your self-worth; you end up just perpetuating your bad behaviors, remaining indefinitely defeatist. 

This shouldn’t be. 

Realize that there are few things more human than making mistakes, than failure. 

What counts is how you bounce back. 

Once you make the shift and stop viewing setbacks as failures and consider them learning opportunities, you will invariably grow as a person. ‘

And that’s what it’s all about.  

7) Avoiding feedback

Do you know why successful restaurants give out feedback cards to customers after they finish their meals? 

It’s because they want to know how they can improve their business; they want to know how they can get better, and ultimately, more profitable. 

They thrive off of feedback, both good and bad, and come back stronger. 

Many people who stay stagnant in life regard constructive criticism as a personal affront, rather than an opportunity for improvement. 

They might get defensive and guarded. 

Don’t be like this. 

Always stay open to well-meaning feedback and use it as a tool to enhance your skills and behaviors to move forward in life. 

8) Wasting time on negative thoughts

As someone who has a history of overthinking to excess, I can tell you firsthand that it’s debilitating, and can genuinely hold you back from making meaningful progress in life. 

When you waste all your energy on negative thoughts and rumination, dwelling non-stop, you halt your ability to develop as a person. 

You’re drained, and your motivation levels take a massive hit. 

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. There is hope. 

Overthinking, like anything, can be solved if you’re assertive in your approach. 

I find that practicing mindfulness, i.e. actively replacing my negative thoughts with constructive and uplifting ones, can go a long way. 

But you have to be willing to make the change. 

Your thoughts are powerful–you need the determination to defeat them. 

Final thoughts 

If you find yourself stagnating in life, don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Not all is lost. Far from it. 

But you have to put the work in. 

Be committed and dedicated to change, and in time, good things will come your way. 

Progress is inevitable if you want it to be. 

It’s your life, your existence, it’s about time you own it. One step at a time.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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