If you want to be a happy and joyful person as you get older, say goodbye to these 9 habits

There’s a huge distinction between growing old gracefully and just getting older. The difference? It’s all about your habits.

As we age, clinging on to certain detrimental habits can steal our joy and happiness. But, letting go of those habits? That’s a game-changer.

Saying goodbye to these nine habits will not only make your journey into older years a joyride but also keep you cheerful and content. If you’re keen on being that happy-go-lucky older person, keep reading!

Let’s get started. 

1) Stop comparing yourself to others

One of the biggest joy-stealers as we age is comparison. More often than not, we find ourselves measuring our lives against those of others.

The reality is, there will always be someone who seems to have it better – more wealth, better health, or more happiness. But here’s the kicker – there’s no such thing as a perfect life.

When we constantly compare ourselves to others, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment and dissatisfaction. It’s a habit that rarely leaves room for joy or contentiveness.

Saying goodbye to this habit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for improvement. On the contrary, it means focusing on your own journey, celebrating your own victories and learning from your own failures.

Being joyful as you age isn’t about having what others have. It’s about appreciating what you have while striving for what you want. So next time you find yourself in the comparison trap, take a step back and reevaluate.

It might not be easy to let go of this habit but trust me, it’s well worth it if you want to age with happiness and joy.

2) Letting past regrets rule your present

We all have our fair share of regrets. Mine? It was not taking a gap year to travel before I started my career. I had always dreamt of backpacking across Europe, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures. But, I let the fear of falling behind in my career path dictate my decisions.

As I got older, this regret was a constant shadow, looming over every achievement, tinging every joyous moment with a hint of ‘what if’. It was draining my happiness.

Then one day, it hit me. There’s no point dwelling on a past I couldn’t change. Instead, I decided to focus on the present and the future. I might not have travelled in my youth, but who’s to say I can’t do it now?

The moment I stopped letting this past regret control my present, I found myself becoming more joyful. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

Regrets are part of life. We all make mistakes. But letting them rule your present? That’s a habit you need to say goodbye to if you want to age with happiness and joy. Learn from the past, but live in the present. Your future self will thank you for it.

3) Neglecting physical health

We’ve all heard the saying, “health is wealth.” And it couldn’t be more accurate. When we’re healthy, we can do more, experience more, and enjoy life to its fullest.

Research shows that regular exercise doesn’t just keep your body in shape, but it also has a significant impact on your mental well-being. It can boost your mood, improve your sleep, and even help manage stress levels.

But, as we age, it’s easy to fall into the habit of neglecting our physical health. Maybe we’re too busy, or perhaps we think it’s too late to start. But the truth is, it’s never too late.

Letting go of this habit and prioritizing your health doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or hit the gym every day. It could be as simple as taking a daily walk around your neighborhood, doing some gardening, or even dancing around the house.

A healthier body often leads to a happier mind. If you want to age joyfully, it’s time to say goodbye to neglecting your physical health and hello to an active lifestyle.

4) Living with a massive ego

As we age, we tend to accumulate a lot of life experiences. We’ve been through highs and lows, successes and failures. And while these experiences are valuable, they can sometimes inflate our ego.

Buddhism teaches us about the value of humility and the dangers of a bloated ego. It suggests that an inflated ego can lead to suffering, as it distorts our perception of ourselves and the world around us.

In my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I delve into this concept in much more detail. I explain how living with a swollen ego can hinder our happiness and rob us of the joy in our later years.

The book also offers practical tips and strategies on how to cultivate humility and let go of egoistic tendencies. It’s not about belittling yourself, but about understanding the true essence of your existence beyond societal labels and personal achievements.

If you’re keen on aging joyfully, consider saying goodbye to the habit of living with a massive ego. And if you need guidance on how to do this, my book could be a valuable resource for you.

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5) Holding onto grudges

I remember this one time when a close friend of mine betrayed my trust. It hurt me deeply. I felt like a gaping wound was left in my heart, and I carried this grudge for years, letting the bitterness seep into other areas of my life.

Over time, I realized that by holding onto this grudge, I was only poisoning my own peace of mind. It was like carrying a heavy burden that weighed me down and stole my joy.

I decided it was time to let go. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. I worked on forgiving not just for their sake, but for mine. And as I did, I felt a sense of liberation and peace like never before.

Carrying grudges is a heavy load to bear as you age. It can cloud your happiness and rob you of the joy in your golden years. 

6) Always aiming for perfection

Now, this might sound a bit counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t striving for perfection a good thing? Doesn’t it mean we’re always aiming for the best?

Well, not necessarily. You see, while it’s great to aim for excellence, constantly chasing after perfection can actually be detrimental to our happiness.

Perfection is an unrealistic goal. It sets up an impossible standard that we can never truly achieve. This constant pursuit can lead to stress, anxiety, and disappointment when we inevitably fall short.

Instead, try embracing the concept of ‘good enough’. Recognize that you’re human and that mistakes and flaws are a part of life.

This doesn’t mean you stop striving for improvement. Rather, it means you appreciate your efforts and progress without berating yourself for not being ‘perfect’.

Saying goodbye to the habit of always aiming for perfection can significantly boost your joy as you age. It allows you to accept yourself as you are – beautifully imperfect and wonderfully unique.

7) Living in the future

We all do it. We think about the future, planning and dreaming about what it might hold. But there’s a difference between planning for the future and living in it.

When we’re always focused on the future, we miss out on the present. We overlook the beauty of the moment, the joy in the now. We become so fixated on what’s to come that we forget to enjoy what is.

Moreover, constantly living in the future can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. After all, the future is uncertain and largely out of our control.

If you want to age joyfully, learn to live in the present. Enjoy each moment as it comes, savoring the experiences and emotions it brings.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t plan for your future. But remember to balance it with appreciating and enjoying your present. As they say, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift – that’s why it’s called ‘the present’.

9) Fearing aging itself

Perhaps the biggest habit you need to say goodbye to if you want to age joyfully is the fear of aging itself.

Many of us dread getting older. We associate it with loss – loss of youth, vitality, opportunities. But aging isn’t a loss; it’s a gain.

With every passing year, we gain more wisdom and experience. We become more self-aware, more resilient. We learn to appreciate the things we often took for granted in our youth.

The fear of aging can cast a shadow over our golden years, preventing us from fully embracing and enjoying this stage of life.

But once we let go of this fear and start viewing aging as a beautiful and natural part of life, we can truly begin to age with joy and happiness.

So take heart. Aging is not the end; it’s merely the beginning of a new, exciting chapter in your life. Embrace it with open arms, and watch as your later years become your best years.

Final thoughts: It’s a journey

Aging gracefully and joyfully is more than just a series of steps; it’s a journey. It’s about embracing the changes that come with time and appreciating the wisdom that each passing year brings.

Some of these habits might be deeply ingrained in us, and letting go of them can seem daunting. But remember, it’s not about immediate perfection, but gradual progress.

One thing that can make this journey easier is understanding the nuances of our existence beyond societal norms and personal achievements. This is where my book Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego can be a valuable companion.

The underlying principles of Buddhism, as explored in the book, can help guide you towards embracing aging with an open heart and mind. It offers insights on how to live with humility, let go of egoistic tendencies and find contentment in the present moment.

In the end, it’s about making peace with time and aging. It’s about viewing every new wrinkle as a symbol of wisdom, every gray hair as a testament to experiences lived, and every passing year as a precious gift.

Embrace this journey called aging. Welcome it with open arms and a joyful heart. And remember – growing older is not just about adding years to your life; it’s about adding life to your years.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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