If your New Year’s resolution is to be happier, ditch these 9 habits

It’s a new year and a fresh start. You’ve resolved to be happier, and that’s great! But there’s a caveat.

Sometimes, it’s not what you start doing, but what you stop doing that makes all the difference.

And let’s face it – we’ve all got habits that don’t exactly spark joy. If your goal is to be happier in 2024, some of those old patterns might need to go.

In this article, I’ll share with you nine habits to consider ditching. It’s time to clear the way for a happier you!

1) Overthinking

We’ve all been there. Lying awake at night, replaying the day’s events or worrying about tomorrow. It’s a common habit, but one that definitely doesn’t contribute to happiness.

Overthinking can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. It can prevent you from enjoying the present moment and cause you to worry unnecessarily about the future.

Remember, most of the things we worry about never actually happen.

So if your New Year’s resolution is to be happier, it might be time to stop overanalyzing every little thing. Try setting aside specific ‘worry time’ during the day and use the rest of your time to focus on positive or productive thoughts.

Breaking the habit of overthinking isn’t easy, but it’s a big step towards a happier you.

2) Neglecting self-care

I’ve been guilty of this one. With life’s hustle and bustle, it’s easy to put everyone and everything else before yourself.

I remember a time when I was juggling work, family responsibilities, and personal commitments. I was constantly running on empty, thinking that taking time for myself was a luxury I couldn’t afford.

But here’s the thing – neglecting self-care doesn’t make you more efficient or productive. It just leaves you feeling burnt out and unhappy.

I learned the hard way that to be happier, you need to prioritize self-care. Whether it’s taking a walk in nature, reading a book, or just enjoying a cup of tea in silence, these little ‘me time’ moments can really boost your mood.

Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential. And ditching the habit of neglecting it could be a game changer for your happiness this year.

3) Comparing yourself to others

In this age of social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing your life with others. You see their highlight reels – the perfect vacations, the happy families, the successful careers – and it can make you feel like you’re not measuring up.

Here’s something to remember: according to research, people who compare themselves to others are more likely to experience envy, low self-esteem, and depression. It’s a surefire way to sap your happiness.

So instead of focusing on what others are doing, concentrate on your own journey. Remember, everyone’s path is unique, and the only person you should be competing with is the person you were yesterday.

4) Holding onto grudges

We all have been hurt by someone in the past, and it’s natural to feel upset and harbor ill feelings. But holding onto grudges is like carrying a heavy baggage that slows your journey towards happiness.

Harboring resentment doesn’t harm the person who wronged you, but it certainly affects your peace of mind and overall well-being. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer.

Letting go doesn’t mean you’re forgetting what happened or that you’re condoning the other person’s actions. It simply means you’re choosing your happiness over your hurt.

It’s not an easy habit to ditch, but doing so can be liberating and open up space for positivity and happiness in your life.

5) Avoiding challenges

It’s human nature to stick to our comfort zones. After all, who doesn’t like feeling safe and secure? But avoiding challenges can also keep us from growing and discovering our full potential.

Challenges, while intimidating, can be opportunities for growth. They push us to learn new skills, adapt to new situations, and ultimately become stronger and more resilient.

Fear of failure may hold us back from taking on challenges, but remember that every successful person has failed at some point. It’s not about avoiding failure, but learning from it and moving forward.

So if you’re looking to be happier this year, consider ditching the habit of avoiding challenges. Embrace them instead, and watch yourself grow.

6) Not expressing gratitude

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to overlook the little blessings that come our way. We often focus so much on what’s going wrong that we forget to appreciate what’s going right.

Expressing gratitude is a simple habit, but one that can profoundly impact our happiness. It shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have.

It’s not just about saying thank you, but truly feeling it in our hearts. Even in the darkest times, there’s always something to be grateful for. It could be a kind word from a friend, a beautiful sunset, or simply the fact that you’re alive and breathing.

By appreciating the good in your life, you open up space for more good to come in. So why not make this year the one where you ditch the habit of not expressing gratitude? Start acknowledging your blessings, big and small, and see how it impacts your happiness.

7) Ignoring your feelings

I spent a long time believing that brushing my feelings under the rug was the way to deal with them. If I didn’t acknowledge them, they couldn’t hurt me, right? But that’s not how it works.

Ignoring your feelings doesn’t make them go away. Instead, they build up over time and can lead to stress, anxiety, and even physical health issues.

It’s important to allow yourself to feel and process your emotions, both the good and the bad. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or scared. These emotions are part of being human.

By acknowledging your feelings, you can understand what they’re trying to tell you and handle them in a healthier way. So this year, consider ditching the habit of ignoring your feelings. It’s a step towards emotional health and overall happiness.

8) Living in the past or future

Have you ever caught yourself ruminating on past mistakes or worrying about the future? It’s a common habit, but one that can rob you of your happiness.

Living in the past or future prevents you from fully experiencing the present moment. And the present is the only place where life truly exists.

While it’s good to learn from past experiences and plan for the future, it’s also important to enjoy the here and now. The smell of fresh coffee, the sound of laughter, the feel of your pet’s fur – these small moments of joy often go unnoticed when we’re lost in our thoughts.

Consider ditching the habit of living in the past or future. Try to be more present and soak in the joys of everyday life. It may just make you happier than you think!

9) Trying to please everyone

Here’s the truth: you can’t please everyone, and that’s okay. The pursuit of universal likability is not only impossible, it’s exhausting.

When you constantly strive to meet others’ expectations, you lose sight of your own needs and desires. Your happiness shouldn’t be dependent on others’ approval.

Set boundaries, say no when you need to, and prioritize your own happiness.

Final thoughts: Happiness is in your hands

At the end of the day, happiness is a personal pursuit, and it looks different for everyone. What makes one person happy might not work for someone else.

But one universal truth remains – happiness comes from within. No external factor can bring you lasting happiness if you’re not content with yourself.

The decision to ditch these habits is a conscious choice that you must make every day. It might not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

So as you embark on this journey towards a happier you, remember that the power to change your life lies within you. You have the ability to create your own happiness by fostering positive habits and letting go of the ones that hold you back.

Let 2024 be the year you choose to be happier. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.

Jeanette Brown

I have been in Education as a teacher, career coach and executive manager over many years.
I'm also an experienced coach who is passionate about supporting people in finding real meaning and purpose in their lives, building a resilient, grounded inner self and achieving their desired goals.

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