11 Self-Defeating Habits That Hold People Back

11 Self-Defeating Habits That Hold People Back

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Has anyone ever told you that you’re your own worst enemy? If you engage in self-defeating habits, you’ve likely heard this statement a time or two. No doubt, you desire to live the best life possible, so this means that you can’t just live any old lifestyle.

If you want to rise above the norm and be exceptional, you need to look at the things you do. Are you a timewaster, or do you make every minute count? If you want to achieve great things, you need to get rid of the self-defeating habits holding you back.

Eleven Top Self-Defeating Habits

There’s no perfect life. Thankfully, there are ways that you can control the destructive behaviors that take away and not enhance your being. Here are the most common issues that you should strive to overcome.

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1. Comparing Yourself to Others

Why does the grass always look greener on the other side? Stop looking at what’s going on in your neighbor’s life and start making yours the best it can be. You’re envious of material possessions and relationships when you can have the same things.

Additionally, things always look rosier when you don’t know the behind-the-scenes scoop. People and families can look picture perfect on the outside, but there are deep, dark secrets that you’ll never know. Don’t be so eager to step into someone else’s shoes, as their life is far from glamourous.

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2. Procrastinating

There’s a certain amount of procrastinating that’s acceptable in life. However, if you make it a common choice to delay doing something that needs to be done, it’s a problem. See, the list of things to do keeps adding up until you have a mound in your to-do pile that’s overwhelming.

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Stop putting off the things that you need to accomplish to another day. A common trick that seems to work for some people is to get the most challenging things off their plate first. Once you get the hard stuff done, you will feel confident enough to finish those small, mundane tasks.

3. Worrying About Tomorrow

How many sleepless nights do you lie awake worrying about work tomorrow or another situation? You’re losing precious sleep over something that hasn’t even happened yet. Shockingly, 85 percent of the things you fear will never occur.

Robert Leahy, Ph.D., wrote a book entitled The Worry Cure. In this book, he references a study that shows that most of the things you fret about will never come to pass. So, while you lay there with your heart racing and nerves frazzled, you’re working yourself into a state of frenzy over something that’s not going to happen.

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Rather than spending all this time in an anxious state, why not start thinking positively? Start thinking about all the good things that will happen to you rather than all the negative ones.

4. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle

Most people work the nine to five shift and come home to their recliner to rest. If you sit in an office chair all day and crash on the couch all night, how will you stay healthy? Your body needs you to get up and move.

Exercise is essential for a healthy life. People start having medical issues in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and can’t figure out why they’re suddenly so unhealthy. The key is that you didn’t do anything to prevent it when you’re younger.

While it’s okay to veg and be a couch potato on some occasions, you need physical activity to keep your body healthy. The Franklin Institute did an article on this commonly used phrase and said that people use it as slang and don’t understand the gravity of the matter.

Sitting idle maximizes your chances of becoming obese, and it increases the chances of developing things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

5. Inconsistency With Children

It’s hard to be consistent with your children and discipline. However, if it’s wrong to play on their gaming system for more than two hours one day, then it should also be bad the next day. You must have a set of ground rules that you follow for your home.

If you let things slide one day and are upset about them the next, your children will see the inconsistencies and use them against you. Children need boundaries, and they like having a structure in place that keeps things the same. It’s very self-defeating if you’re not consistent in your discipline.

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6. Overspending

There’s nothing better than a trip to the mall. A spending spree for new clothes or household purchases can put a boost in your step. In fact, many people use shopping as a hobby to cope with stress.

The intense highs that buying something produces can be addicting. However, if you’re spending money you don’t have, you’re going to cause financial issues. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going shopping if you’re spending within your means.

7. Wallowing In Self-Pity

Is there anything worse than someone who’s constantly feeling sorry for themselves? They go through life feeling like the Universe is out to get them. When you become so self-absorbed and unhappy about your life, you make it hard for other folks to be around you.

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Stop crying yourself a river and find effective ways to fix things that cause you pain. If you have issues from your childhood or in your current state holding you back, you need to seek effective ways to manage these issues. No one wants to be around someone always on the verge of tears and in a crisis.

8. Perfectionism

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you did was perfect? Well, it’s a lovely fairytale, but it will never be possible. Humans are fallible, so there’s no way that you can be perfect at everything you do. It’s very skewed thinking that you can have an ideal outcome every time.

To embrace life means being kinder to yourself. You must learn to accept yourself, flaws, and all. If the sun shined every day, then you would never know how soothing and tranquil the rain can be.

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9. Neglecting Your Mental Health

There’s always been such a stigma regarding mental health, but thankfully, people embrace their mental needs more than ever before. Still, much work must be done to ensure that people take care of depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

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Your mind is just like the rest of your body, and it can get sick and need treatment. If you notice that your thought processes and overall mental wellbeing are not correct, you need to seek help before those self-defeating thoughts escalate.

10. Self-Criticism

Did you know that you’re the worst critic of yourself? You notice things that others probably have never seen. Stop putting yourself down for your weight, your hairstyle, or the clothes you wear. It’s time to start building yourself up.

Rather than pointing out all the things that are so wrong with you, why not start pointing out all the things you’ve accomplished? When you feel those negative emotions start coming to the surface about all your failures, you need to remind yourself of all the things you’ve done right. If you want other people to love you, then you must first love yourself.

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11. Social Isolation

If the last year has taught society anything, it’s that social isolation can be mentally damaging. There’s nothing good that happens when you stay behind four walls consistently. It would help if you were out and mingling with others.

There are so many experiences that you can miss out on when you stay at home to Netflix and chill. Sure, there will be days when you need some downtime to recharge your batteries, but you need a social life outside of work. You’re robbing yourself of valuable relationships and experiences when you sit inside all day long.

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Final Thoughts on Identifying Your Self-Defeating Habits

Looking back on the list of self-defeating habits, did you see any problems that you face daily? Perhaps, some other issues aren’t on the list that you struggle to overcome. Life is about doing the best you can in the short time you have here on earth, so you need to make sure that you do everything you can to make it great.

The best thing that you can do for yourself and those around you is to love you. You must love and accept yourself, including all the things you wish were different. Things like comparing yourself to others, talking negatively, and wallowing in self-pity are only going to make you miserable.

When you stop engaging in these self-defeating behaviors, you will notice that your world gets a whole lot better. Plus, it’s incredibly harmful to beat up on yourself each day; why not strive to be more positive?

Remember, your children are watching you, and they will mimic your behaviors. So, you owe it to them and your family to show them how great life can be when you stay optimistic.

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Deborah Tayloe

Deborah is a full-time editor, blogger, and children's book author. Her book series helps children with anxiety overcome the challenges in everyday life using kindness and courage. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Secondary Education English and a Spanish minor from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. When she's not working on one of her many writing projects, you will find Deborah working in her herb garden. She is currently completing her master herbalist certification and can't wait to share the knowledge.

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