20+ Toxic Habits You Need To Quit

Toxic habits can hold us back in life. And, sadly, we begin to uncover more and more as we dig deeper.

There are so many toxic habits that can hold us back in life, some of which we might never have considered!

It’s not just things like smoking, drinking excessively or poor eating habits. Toxic habits also arise in our everyday behaviours, gestures and thinking patterns! Most of us mightn’t even recognise our toxic habits because we spend so much time living on autopilot. Everything simply becomes automatic, so much so that we don’t think about how we’re living.

But you have the power to change these toxic habits! Will it be simple? Probably not. But will it be worth it? Totally!

Image from DESIGNECOLOGIST

Twenty Toxic Habits You Need To Quit.

1. Stop pandering to perfectionism.

Possibly one of the most frustrating habits I have is striving to be perfect. But, repeat after me, perfect doesn’t exist! No one person on this earth is considered perfect, whether they believe they are or not. It holds us accountable for unachievable ‘goals‘ and ‘expectations‘ and ultimately controls how we feel about ourselves. Perfectionism is a dap hand at diminishing our self-esteem and prevents us from enjoying the simple things in life. I’m never more stressed or judgemental of myself than when I’m allowing my inner perfectionist to thrive.

Kick it to the curb! We’ve no room for life-ruining, unachievable perfectionism here.

2. Fix your sleeping pattern!

3. Stop being jealous of the success of others!

4. Take the time to learn from your mistakes!

5. Don’t focus on what you can’t control.

You can’t control the weather, the election results, or inflation. So you try to micromanage every little thing in your life from your partner’s schedule to your kid’s social life. But it’s important to remember that you can’t shape every circumstance in your life or others to exactly how you want them to be. That’s not how life works. And if we try we’re only doomed to feel like a failure, even when it’s entirely outside our control.

Trying to keep every little thing under control creates unnecessary anxiety and stress. Instead, recognise that while having everything under control feels good, it’s not achievable all the time.

6. Stop living in the past!

While it’s important to self-reflect and learn from the past, we shouldn’t live there. But it can be hard to bring yourself into the present when you’re so used to living in the past. I spend hours trying to sleep only to replay scenarios in my head that are long since gone. There’s nothing I can do to change the situation, yet I still dwell on it. It’s the typical trait of an overthinker and it’s taken me years to find a method that works for me.

If you struggle with something similar, start by writing in a journal either before bed or during a time of the day that works best for you. When there’s too much going on in your head, use the pages as a ‘brain dump’ and let go of what you’re thinking. Not only does this act as a release, but it can also be very cathartic and help us see things in a different light.

7. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of feeling sorry for yourself when everything seems to be going wrong. But, as comforting as it is, it only prevents us from finding a solution to moving forward in life. Instead, try to sit with your negative thoughts and change them with realistic ones. Are you catastrophizing the situation or thought? Is there really no way you can change or move past things?

There’s a lot to be said for those who get knocked down but keep getting up again. They’re resilient and not only take a punch but move forward while doing so.

A great tool to help us break out of our self-pity party is to practice gratitude. While it might sound ‘corny’, if practised persistently, gratitude is an amazing way to help us see the bigger picture.

8. Don’t ignore your mental health.

No one likes to embrace the difficult emotions in life, but we can’t avoid them forever. Ignoring feelings like fear, stress and anxiety only give way to more destructive coping mechanisms. Instead, reach out for support whether it’s to a loved one or a professional. Through doing so you’ll learn of different ways to cope when you’re struggling with your mental health. You may also find that nurturing your mind may also alleviate any physical symptoms you’ve been experiencing.

9. Don’t forget about your physical health!

10. You can’t please everyone, so stop trying!

11. Stop giving away your control to others!

There are so many ways we give away our power or control to others, some of which we’ve mentioned here. It can be things such as taking responsibility for other people’s problems and emotions. Or you may not be setting clear and direct boundaries, leaving you wide open to be walked over. And for some of us, it can be as simple as living by what others think of us instead of listening to our inner voice.

12. Stop belittling yourself and your achievements!

Image from Gemma Evans

13. Set clear and direct boundaries!

Boundaries serve many functions, but first and foremost they enable us to recognize and stick to our own limitations. They tell others how we want to be treated, what’s good and what’s not, therefore protecting us from harm or mistreatment. 

They also create a healthy separation both physically and mentally between yourself and those around you. Boundaries set aside space for yourself, your privacy, and your own feelings, thoughts, and needs. They enable you to separate work from your personal life, the needs of others from your needs, and your self-care from others. Overall, they allow you to be yourself rather than becoming an extension of someone else. They leave you free to be who you are instead of what others might expect from you. 

14. Stop avoiding alone time!

15. Stop being afraid of change!

16. Stop comparing yourself to others!

When we compare ourselves and our lives to that of others, we don’t recognise all the good things we have. Instead, we home in on what we aren’t doing or what we don’t have in our lives. Comparison is the thief of joy and the older I get, the more I can see it as being one of my key toxic habits. While I mostly have it under control now, it ebbs and flows depending on how I’m feeling mentally.

For a long time, I was fixated on moving on to the next big thing. I wanted a house, to get married, to have a good job, and to make lots of money. And this was all because that was considered the ‘done‘ thing where I grew up. It wasn’t until I let go of that thinking that I began to really live my true, authentic life. And, guess what? It’s nothing near where I thought I would be as a teenager or even as a young child.

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17. Don’t give up after the first try!

18. But don’t expect immediate results!

19. Stop waiting for the right time!

If current events have taught me anything, it’s that tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. If you’re holding out for the right time, then there is no better time than the present. All you’re doing is putting off joy.

Instead of waiting to be better prepared or educated before starting something, accept that you can learn along the way. Don’t wait for the next big celebration to light those candles, draw a bath and treat yourself tonight!

20. Stop constantly worrying about every little thing.

One of my worst toxic habits is spending too much time sweating the small stuff. I spend a great deal of my time caught up in a tangle of anxiety and worry. Part of it is a diagnosed mental illness, while the other part is a combination of perfectionism, lack of boundaries and pandering to others. We spend one hundred per cent of our time inside our own minds, and constantly worrying makes it a very hostile place to be. Not only that, but it increases ageing, increases the risk of physical illness and exacerbates any current mental illness.

I’ve been trying to tell myself to stop meeting bridges before I come to them. Instead, I’m trying to hold back and wait before spiralling out of control. It’s easier said than done, but I find allocating a certain amount of time to worrying helps a great. For me, that means giving myself thirty minutes to write down what is worrying me, why, and possible outcomes. After that time I set it aside and move on to a coping mechanism such as playing video games, working on blog articles or exercising.


What other toxic habits do you need to quit!?

There are so many toxic habits we could do with letting go of that it was hard to narrow it down to just twenty. If you can think of any others I’d love to hear them in the comments. Perhaps they’ll make it into a future update or help someone else browsing the comment section.

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33 comments

  1. Habits are not easy to break but you need to know your weakness well. I personally struggle with the Change that comes in my career over time. Your article clears my doubts about myself and gives me hope for better self understanding. Thanks!

  2. Great list. I think a lot of us realize we are doing these things but don’t think about it much. It is good to have a goal and a strategy to stop doing things that aren’t good for us!

  3. I’ve been working on not comparing myself to others especially other bloggers because then I don’t see what I’ve accomplished and all the good in my life.
    Also, this is a good reminder that I shouldn’t wait for the right time to do the things I’ve been wanting to do and I can learn along the way!

  4. Great tips. I struggle with perfectionism. I have to remind myself to let go otherwise I beat myself up about things 🙁

  5. Those are some great selections of points to keep in mind and important as well. One must acknowledge your own toxic habits and work to fix it for the better.

  6. 20 excellent tips. I love that you do what is right for you, that is philosophical and insightful. Many of us spend a lot of time doing what we think is right, but does not feel right. We need to feel more and think less. Trust our instincts. Journaling is a great way to deal with anxiety and fear. I also love that you play video games. Something that makes you feel good about yourself really works, for me it is watching old films from my childhood and listening to film soundtracks. Excellent post and very useful, thank you.

  7. This is really nice, a blog post! Personally, I never waste any moment to procrastination. I believe the best time to do anything is now.

  8. It is interesting list of bad habits. Definitely, I keep living in the past or future. I’ll try to change that. Thank you for the reminder.

  9. I think most people have at least 1 toxic trait; we are all humans. sweating the small stuff is something I am working on. The Virgo in me loves to see things in order and most ofter aims to perfect my work.

  10. I’m guilty of procrastinating when it comes to my physical health such as making doctor appointments. I’m doing a bit better with sleep, as I am temporarily taking Belsomra to get back into my circadian rhythm. Thanks for the nudge!

  11. I love this. So often we look at other people’s toxic stuff but this helps one look at their own. Thanks for sharing

  12. These are great tips on how to improve your life in general. My worst habit is my egoism and self-love where I tend to overlook the needs of others.

  13. One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was perfectionism and trying to please everyone. I am so happy I have stopped that now.

  14. I so concur with the importance of setting clear goals. It feels so good when you accomplish them but it you don’t have goals it can feel like nothing was achieved. You give some really great tips I will hold these dear to my heart.

  15. Really great read on changing toxic habits. I completely struggle with living in the past – especially at night. Sleep is to important to dwell on things I can’t change – but I do!

  16. A big yes to all of these tips! I am most guilty of belittling myself when I fail – thanks for the great info on how to bread these toxic habits.

  17. These are so many things that are negative to your life and your mindset! Change makes me anxious. I got into university and starting in September but so nervous. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren

  18. Yes to all of these! I think we’re all guilty of doing most of these at some point or another. I think it’s helpful to maybe pick a few of these you struggle with the most and work on those. We all have toxic habits, a lot of them are properly ingrained into us from other people or childhood. It’s definitely not an overnight job to get rid of them!

  19. I have a number of things included here I need to work on; this was a timely reminder for me to start tackling them. Thanks for this reminder; it’s important we’re aware of the toxicity we allow in or produce ourselves. Great post!

  20. This is such a great list of toxic traits that we need to quit! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  21. Great article! It’s so important to identify toxic habits and work towards eliminating them from our lives. The list is comprehensive and covers a wide range of behaviors that can be harmful to ourselves and those around us. Taking steps to break these habits can lead to a happier and healthier life.

  22. Comparison and perfectionism are truly the thieves of joy and happiness. Yet there the two habits I struggle with the most. Great post!

  23. When we are young, curiosity forces us to take risks and try new things. But as we get older, we want stability in life and we become scared of change. Every person has to face many ups and downs in life but any change is a challenge that puts undue pressure. Sometimes it’s difficult to adjust to change but I guess with the help of family and friends and cooperative colleagues, it is possible to embrace change.

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