Sometimes we reach a breaking point in our lives.
We wake up and realize instead of being happy, we’re miserable. Instead of calm and healthy, we’re living stressed-out, lethargic, zombie-like lives. What gives?!
Surprisingly, this is often the result of tiny common bad habits instead of in-your-face events. Let’s look at an example…
Meet Sarah. She’s an average middle-aged woman. She’s sweet in nature, and living life the best she knows how.
But she doesn’t realize that her phone addiction will take ten years from her life, or the pop she began consuming every day will mean she’s seventy-eight pounds heavier in five years. They are all seemingly harmless, yet common bad habits.
And they have the potential to ruin good lives.
When we look at these small habits we think they don’t matter, but over time they compound to shockingly different outcomes. We must be aware of what they do to us.
So, below are ten common, yet harmful bad habits and how to fix them so your future looks healthy, happy, and impactful. Don’t let these stump you today!
10 Common Bad Habits (and 10 solutions!)
So here in no particular order of importance are what I consider are the top 10 bad habits most people have.
1. Skimping on Sleep
Have you ever felt sick and unable to focus after sleeping less than you should? There’s a reason!
Studies show that sleep is CRITICAL for being at our best. Skimping on sleep can cause anything from depression to chronic disease.
Yet, adequate sleep helps you live longer, improves memory, and even sharpens focus and attention. Plus, it’s easier to stay at a healthy weight because we make better choices.
Rest and recovery are essential elements to being a great human being. Don’t neglect your sleep!
Solution: If sleep is a problem, develop a soothing routine before you hit the hay. Read a good book, write three things you’re grateful for, or enjoy an Epsom salt bath. Then go to bed thirty minutes before you normally would and enjoy better energy and health
2. Giving Your Phone Priority
The average person spends over four hours a day on their phone. In one year that’s over 56 days of your life spent scrolling your phone!
You had no real conversations during this time. No impactful work. No learning, growing, or nourishing your soul. Those hours are lost, never to be replaced.
We live in a time where it’s never been easier to live distracted. But if we let our phones own us, we dramatically minimize the beauty in our lives.
Solution: Put your phone away several times throughout your day. Decide on a spot in a drawer, and set an alarm for yourself if need be.
Additionally, unplug regularly on the weekend. Give yourself time to wander, think, and be alive.
3. Going to the Store Unprepared
Common bad habits at the grocery store make a huge difference in our overall health. What you have in your house YOU WILL EAT. And boy, are we all guilty of this.
When you regularly buy chips, cookies, and ice cream, you’ve doomed yourself from the start. That’s called self-sabotage and you’ll never make real headway without a plan.
Solution: So, the utmost care must be taken at the store! Before you even eat!
Plan your trips with a list, go no more than once a week, and enjoy a filling snack before you go. Stick to your list! If you love buying a treat at the store, make it a mini version or a healthy treat like dark chocolate instead of a candy bar.
If you win this one small battle, you’ll set yourself up for a week of dramatically better eating.
4. Watching the News Non-Stop
The news is made to be negative.
Doom and gloom sell, and they draw us in. The problem? If you consume large amounts of this negative “the roof is on fire” news, you waste a TON of your time worrying about negative events that are outside of your control.
Solution: If you love being informed, then find one or two news outlets and set your timer for ten minutes to consume the most necessary pieces from the day. When your alarm goes off, you’re done!
I found this super awesome video on YouTube from the Be Inspired Channel. I think you’ll really enjoy this talk!
5. Drinking Your Calories
This common bad habit could be massively impacting your health.
That can of Dr. Pepper Sarah loves? It has 150 calories.
If you have one pop a day, you’ve now added 1050 empty calories to your week. That’s 15.6 pounds in a year! Just from a small soda habit! Crazy right?!
On a day to day basis, it seems like nothing, but these zero nutrient calories don’t even do the decency of keeping you full. Instead, they give you a sugar high only to crash an hour later (and reach for something else). All resulting in debilitating health problems later…
Solution: So, switch to better for you options like iced tea, herbal tea, or flavored water. Try to keep those sodas to a once a week treat.
Or go all in and give it up! Your body will THANK YOU!
6. Engaging in Negative Self-Talk
We are what we believe. Our perception is our reality. It’s seemingly harmless, that barb you give yourself about your weight or hair color. But it erodes your confidence and self-esteem, making you believe you’re less worthy.
Furthermore, if you’re telling yourself a negative story about your limits, you’ll never reach new personal or professional heights. “I’m awful at relationships” is a lot different than “I’ve had some rocky relationships and learned so much from them for the future.”
Solution: Instead, start every morning with a self-compliment. Or write in your journal one thing you love about yourself. Get in the habit of being kind to your body, mind, and spirit. Your success and happiness begin with your thoughts.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
7. Getting Dinner Take-out Regularly
We’ve all done it.
Dinner rolls around. We’re tired. That meal plan doesn’t sound good, or it never existed in the first place. Why not pick something up for dinner? And as an occasional habit, this is fine. But like all common bad habits, sometimes occasional turns into weekly, then turns into often.
The problem with regularly picking up dinner is that now you’ve spent twenty dollars for a meal that possibly has twice the calories. <strong>One year later, and you’ve spent an extra thousand dollars while also consuming thousands of extra calories. It adds up.
Solution: Cook at home as often as possible. If need be, buy healthy pre-packaged options at the store for times like these. Pre-cut salads, rotisserie chickens, and frozen fish make easy, quick dinners.
Additionally, the next time you cook, double and freeze it! You’ll have a ready to go meal for nights like these!
8. Watching Too Much TV
As with the phone, it’s important to be hyper-aware of how much of our time we trade-off on a given day. Between Netflix, YouTube videos, and video-games you could be wasting your life away. Binge-watching is all too easy these days.
Solution: Instead, only watch what you intend to watch. Then turn it off. No browsing or perusing to see what’s available.
If you really struggle with mindless watching, move your remote to a different room. Just moving to pick it up will force you to think about whether you really want to do it.
9. Repressing Your Emotions
Life is not always rainbows and butterflies. We get frustrated, depressed, and angry. And often, we try to deny these emotions. Hide them or bottle them up. Unfortunately, what we don’t express will eventually come out in different, uglier ways. Let go of things that weigh you down!
Solution: Pick up the journaling habit! Journaling is a great way to get negative emotions out of our systems. Write without censoring yourself and have the courage to dig deep into what you’re feeling. Writing is an extremely cathartic practice that has the ability to cleanse your soul and lighten your heart.
10. Putting Yourself Last
Finally, not making ourselves a priority is an all too common bad habit. Many of us go through life letting our stress and to-do lists eat us alive. Because our partner needs us. Or our kids. Or the work team. We can’t let anyone down. But in the meantime, we’re suffering, and working ourselves to death.
Solution: Schedule your self-care every week. Without fail. What will you do every single day for yourself in the coming week? Take a nature walk, go to a yoga class, enjoy a good book, and listen to your favorite music. Life is too short to be stressed and tired all the time!
For a complete list of incredible habits, check out The Big List of Life-Changing Habits
How to break bad habits
Let’s face it, it’s super hard to change anything in our lives. But to be honest, I feel it’s harder to break bad habits. We’ve just become so used to doing or having these things in our lives that we can’t imagine our lives without them.
It may be hard yes, but impossible? No!
Decide, make an action plan and do it! It really kinda is that simple!
Something to Consider With Common Bad Habits
Habits are those sneaky things that make us who we are.
And bad habits that are common are especially damaging because we don’t stop to evaluate how they affect our entire lives.
So, take time today to break these bad habits and build incredible new ones. These small changes will lead to dramatically better physical and mental health, explosive productivity, and a much brighter future.
Jenn Kropf is a Kansas City native and mama of three. She writes at her blog Healthy Happy Impactful, a place that empowers and supports others in personal growth, health, and family. Jenn is passionate about discovering ways to push ourselves forward and to give our kids the fundamentals they need to live a full life.