We are all work-in-progress and we should never be embarrassed to own up to this important fact. Yes, we may have become an expert at concealing our bad habits with expensive or the not-so-expensive costumes of the modern world – clothes, shoes, make-up, perfumes, jewellery – as well as a confident exterior we display for people to see. But, even in the midst of all our shenanigans, we should all endeavour to own up to those bad habits that are a constant barrier to us living our authentic self, thriving as a human being and becoming a better version of ourselves.
Here are five habits I am currently shedding and I feel these are habits you should consider quitting too especially if you are one of those people constantly seeking for new ways of becoming a better you.
1. Trying to please everyone will get you know where
Ok, this is one habit I have had to unlearn through the easy and hard way. I say this because I have had experiences where I thought I owed it a duty to please everybody in my life, whether they deserved it or not. Also, I misconstrued the Bible admonishing us to love our brothers as ourselves and do unto others what we want them to do to us as pleasing everybody. But experience has thought me that I cannot please everyone and neither can you. So in order to maintain your happiness, let your good and best intention stem from the need to fulfil that innate desire to be of good nature, kind and loving without expecting anything in return. I have come to realise that acts of kindness or goodness are often not reciprocated by the beneficiaries of the act. It is however reciprocated in ways you could never have imagined or conjured.
2. The fear of change places a limitation on your life
I know we all love the easy, the comfortable, the familiar and the safe life. Change or a shift in the rhythm of our lives can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Personally, I love adventure and I love to travel as long as I get to come back home – to my space and the environment that I have grown accustomed to and maybe even love. So asking me to dive or jump into the unfamiliar terrain is not something I do with a big smile on my face especially when I know there is no ‘home’ to come back to or no ‘turning back’ once the decision has been made. While a part of me wants to be a risk-taker and live without fear and inhibition, yet there is my antagonist-self second guessing this desire of mine. If you are like me, I believe it is high time you began to cautiously think long and hard about the life you desire and find the courage to take those risks even when your antagonist-self dangles fear in your face. While you are at it, keep reminding yourself that life begins at the end of your comfort zone so buckle up and say ‘Yes’ to that adventure you have been afraid to take.
3. Living in the past is cancerous
I recently participated in an Iceberg Exercise designed to help one uncover past experiences, hurt, pain and disappointments that are believed to have shaped an individual’s personality. The Iceberg Exercise supports the theory that more than 90% of our individual personality trait or character (what makes us who we are) is hidden behind the exterior we project to people just in the same way more than 90% of an Iceberg mass (and volume) is hidden below sea level. In order to project one’s authentic self, the exercise teaches participants to remember key vulnerable experiences from the past, own one’s unique story (whether good or bad) and use this new understanding of oneself to set new standards – one that is in tandem with one’s values. During the exercise, I was shocked to realise that the person I am becoming today has been greatly influenced by my past experiences spanning over three decades. While positive experiences can make you strong and develop your character, negatives experiences can become a cancerous cell that overshadows and hinders your journey into becoming your true authentic self. Hence the past has got to go!
4. Being too hard on oneself will jeopardise your happiness
If you belong to the category of the organiser, the analyser with the slightest trait of perfectionism, then you may likely find yourself very often in this situation. On days when things are going well, you feel there is more you should be doing or you begin to fear that you are getting too comfortable. When things are going pear-shaped, you bring the hammer down on yourself thinking you have messed it all up. You end up taking more than your own share of the blame as if that would make things better. I have realised that being hard on myself is exhausting and often takes away the sheer joy of doing and living in the present. Hence, the more time I spend being too hard on myself, the less time I have appreciating other areas of my life that are going really well. One way to counter this habit is to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and accept that it is OK to not be a well-rounded individual. Also constantly remind yourself that you are good enough and doing your possible best at every point in time.
5. Over-analysing and Over-thinking – the buzz kill
This is one habit I am fighting to get rid of with every blood, sweat, breath and fight that I have in me. I know it so well and I have watched the script play over and over in my career, relationships and projects. You know how you start with very good intentions but within the blink of an eye, you find yourself analysing and overthinking situations, scenarios, events and ideas that you initially thought were great, out-of-the-box idea during a ‘eureka moment’. Experience has also taught me that nothing good ever comes out of overthinking and overanalysing. This is because this bad habit is all about finding a million reasons why something will not work out, why it is a bad idea or why a relationship is destined to fail (even before it starts). On occasions where things do work out, having resisted the urge or acted in spite of this bad habit, the Impostor Syndrome steps in and we begin to attribute our success to being a fluke or pure luck. This is the worst buzz kill of all habits and should never be tolerated.
The more I stand up aginst these bad habits of mine, the more optimistic and happier I am becoming. Are there unhealthy habits you would like to kick to the kerb or currently working towards quitting? Please share in the comments!