3 habits that destroy happiness and how you can fix them.
Negative self-defeating voices
Let’s start with looking at our internal thoughts in order to better understand where our habits come from. We all struggle with our negative internal voices. They are critical, destroy confidence, and are stuck on repeat. These negative voices pop up when we’re feeling anxious or want to try something new.
“You can’t do that.”
“People want to see me fail.”
“You’re not good enough.”“I am nothing special.”
A counselor can help you battle the negative, self-defeating voices and find the root cause. The root cause should be addressed. Even if you only suffer bouts of self-doubt and insecurity, individual or group counseling can help you learn to manage the voices and keep them from holding you back.
Those are the negative voices, what about the habits?
Our habits are generally automatic, so they fly just under the radar of our consciousness. We’re aware of them, but not in-tune enough to challenge them. When our habits are so ingrained in our lives, we’re quick to normalize them. “It’s just how I am…”
“I know I should workout more, but …”
“I make poor decisions when I drink too much alcohol, but …”
“I should probably be more social, but …”“I should let go of my past, but…”
After the “but,” we create a reason not to justify poor choices and maintain our self-defeating habits. To break free of these patterns, we have to examine the three exhausting, confidence-killing, and happiness-dampening traits.
Complaining will not make us happy. Any tiny bit of satisfaction that comes from it is useless and empty. It’s okay for us to feel disgruntled, especially when it inspires us to grow and challenge ourselves, and it’s okay to vent to get something off of our chest. When we find ourselves complaining and doing a lot of it, it is self-defeating and can dampen happiness.
Chronic complaining without action sets up our negative thinking patterns, hopelessness, and pessimism. It reinforces a sense that we are powerless, on top of frustration, it takes away energy, and is a chronic source of discouragement. Now we are left with an apathetic attitude and have trouble finding the joy in life.
No matter what justification we come up with, self-neglect leads to illnesses within our bodies, minds, and spirits. It becomes really hard to enjoy life and develop resilience if we’re not sleeping, not exercising, ignoring healthier eating habits, or relying on a substance. The body needs movement, the brain needs stimulation, and the spirit needs fed. If we choose to ignore these areas, then we are self-neglecting, which affects our lifestyle. Our lives may become filled with anxiety and depression.
Often times, we know what we should do, yet we avoid taking action. We miss opportunities when we procrastinate and then have regrets. Procrastination can cause isolation, us to distrust ourselves, and emotional brittleness. Procrastination is denying ourselves a better way of living.
Working on self-defeating habits
Get started today with addressing these habits.
1. Jot them down: list the habits you’d like to change on paper so you can become more aware of them. Be intentional.
2. Make an action plan: for every habit on your list, add what steps can you take today to address those habits.
3. Research support: one-to-one counseling, support groups, educational courses and books, spiritual practices. There are numerous ways to inspire yourself to action. You will have more success at overcoming self-defeating habits with support, rather than taking them on alone.