17 Toxic Habits to Break TODAY for a More Rewarding & Fulfilling Life

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Are you feeling like you’re not living up to your potential? Do you feel like something’s holding you back? 

I know the feeling. I’ve been there.

It’s possible that you have some bad habits to break – and you may not even be aware that they exist.

Habits are those things that we do so often in our lives, that are so ingrained in us, that we do them pretty much automatically. Our habits make up who we are today and who we’ll become in the future. 

They can be helpful, like brushing your teeth or wearing your seatbelt, or they can be toxic, like smoking or letting your explosive temper get the better of you every day.

Those toxic habits? They aren’t serving you. Holding onto them keeps you stuck.

Quitting a bad habit isn’t easy, especially if you don’t even know that the habit is hurting you. A lot of the time, when it comes to toxic habits, you don’t even realize you’re doing them.

If you want amazing results, you need to implement habits that support that – and get rid of habits that don’t.

Your Brain and Its Habits

First, a quick note on your brain and habits.

Your brain is a huge fan of habits – in fact, it absolutely loves them. Why? Because with habits, your brain has much less work to do. No decisions to make. No thinking to be done.

This is why it’s so hard to quit a bad habit. Your brain has gotten so used to repeating it, so now you have to retrain it to put in the effort to make decisions and actually THINK.

Your brain doesn’t want to make these changes. So it will take time and effort, but it can be done.

woman with head in her hands - toxic habits to break

17 Toxic Habits to Break TODAY

Here are 17 habits that you need to stop immediately to live a happy, fulfilled, and productive life. If any of them sound familiar to you, commit to eliminating them so that you can move from frustrated to fulfilled and happy.

Some of these habits might surprise you!

#1 – Comparing Yourself to Others

We live in a world that’s driven by social media. It’s extremely challenging not to envy people’s seemingly picture-perfect lives. 

It’s all too easy to feel like everyone you see on Instagram has something you wish you had. Stop it!

Everyone’s life is different. You don’t know their struggles, their stories, or their behind-the-scenes lives. 

When you’re comparing your own life with someone else’s, it’s hard to enjoy your own life. 

Start being grateful for what you already have and appreciating what you’ve achieved.

#2 – Saying Yes to Everything

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start setting some boundaries and stop saying yes to every invitation or opportunity that comes your way. 

It’s hard. As moms, we tend to give so much of ourselves. We want to be helpful. But we also need to handle our own needs, prioritize our well-being, and set healthy boundaries when it comes to our commitments.

Recognize when you’re spreading yourself too thin. Sometimes you just need a day at home in your jammies. Learn to say no to things you don’t want to do.

#3 – Waiting for Your Life to Start AFTER “Fill-in-the-Blank”

You know what I’m talking about:

  • My life will finally slow down after this month, and everything will be better.
  • Everything will be good again as soon as I find a new job.
  • Happiness will come to me once I lose 25 pounds.

No. Your life is NOW. 

How to do it? Practice gratitude for what you already have. Be present in whatever you’re doing.

If you can’t find the positive in what you have and are doing now, you won’t find it after “fill-in-the-blank” either. You’ll just be looking for the next “fill-in-the-blank” to make you happy or more confident or to make your life simpler.

Happy starts today.

#4 – Self-Doubt

Not believing that you can do whatever you put your mind to will seriously hinder your success. Self-doubt stops you from taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals. It puts your focus on your insecurities and shortcomings. 

Remember to turn your “I can’t” statements into “I can’t – YET” statements. 

Everything is figureoutable (if you haven’t read the book yet, do it – it’s so good!). Shift your mindset and start believing that you can do great things! A positive attitude can help you overcome any difficult situation.

#5 – Multitasking

Our brains are wired to do one thing at a time. When you try to do multiple things at once, your brain has to rapidly shift focus from one task to another. Every time a shift is made, you have to re-focus your efforts.

Multitasking is not good for your performance, accuracy, or mood. If you want to be more productive (and happier!), focus your energy on one task at a time.

#6 – Telling Yourself You’re Not Good Enough

You’re beyond good enough. 

You do SO much. You take care of your family, your home, and possibly a job. You nurture, teach, and encourage every day. 

If you’re worried that you may not be a good mom, you’re actually already a great one. 

If you’re really bothered by this particular insecurity, it’s time to work on your mindset.

You’re doing great, momma!

#7 – Looking outside of yourself for happiness

It’s totally cliche, but happiness truly does come from within. Which means that only YOU can make yourself happy.

When you depend on others to make you happy, you’ll quickly find that it’s impossible. Invest in your personal growth and do things that bring you joy, and you’ll start living a happier life.

#8 – Making Excuses

Excuses will not help you get where you want to be. And it may sound harsh, but your hardships don’t give you a free pass. Everyone has their own set of struggles, but successful people don’t blame anyone else for their life’s outcome. 

Stop saying you don’t have time, money, or knowledge. All three are attainable. Stop saying it’s too hard, and break down the steps into teeny tiny pieces so they’re achievable.

Is there something about your life you’d like to change? You’re the only one who can do it.

Once you stop making excuses and coming up with reasons why you can’t have the life you’ve always wanted, you’ll start to see change. Take small steps toward your goals every day, and you’ll get amazing results – as long as you stop making excuses.

#9 – Not Paying Attention to Your Health

I often catch myself saying that I’m too busy to eat properly or get enough sleep. It’s certainly hard to prioritize. But why am I too busy to take care of myself? 

It’s really ridiculous, actually – if I DON’T take care of myself, all of those balls I’m juggling are most definitely going to fall. I’ll get sick or be so tired I can’t focus.

Why don’t we make time for our own health and happiness? Happy, healthy kiddos need moms who are in tip-top shape. Make the time for true self-care – eat right, drink water, exercise, and get enough sleep. 

#10 – Constantly Checking Your Phone

It’s basically multitasking. Every time you pick up your phone and then go back to a task, your brain has to shift focus again and again. 

Try setting a “phone-free” time. I like to do it from 6:00 to 8:00 every evening. It gets me from dinner until bedtime, so all of our evening family time is spent completely away from my phone. I won’t lie, I do have to put it in another room so I don’t accidentally pick it up 😛

All your kids (and really, all of the people around you) want is YOU – your love and attention. They want to tell you all about their latest Minecraft thing or show you the picture they drew. Yes, it can be obnoxious and repetitive. But it won’t always be like this. 

In order to give them the love and attention that they want, put down the phone and be present.

#11 – Procrastinating

Procrastination causes us to miss out on achieving our goals. It saps our productivity, stresses us out, and makes us feel guilty at the end of the day for not getting our stuff done.

You might call your own procrastination “rationalization” – I know I sometimes do. You say things like, “I didn’t get started on xyz today because it was too hot outside or I need to do more research or the kids were obnoxious all day.” 

Unfortunately, these reasons of rationalization are rarely good reasons to put something off. 

Once procrastination has become a habit, it’s hard to get out of the cycle – but it’s important! Commit to a task, set a deadline, get organized, and just do it! 

#12 – Negative Self-Talk

What you say to yourself matters – you are what you think, after all. And the more these negative thoughts come into your brain, the stronger they become, and they take over the positive thoughts that are in there.

Negative self-talk is any thought that causes you to stop believing in yourself and keeps you from going after what you want in life. The things you say to yourself can seriously hurt your confidence and self-esteem. 

And that’s why you need to get rid of the habit. 

I’m a big fan of the simple turn-around – when a negative thought pops in, just turn it into a positive. When you’re having a rough mom-day, and you’re thinking, “I’m such a horrible mom – I can’t do anything right today!” – turn it around to say, “I’m having a hard time doing things right today, but I’m a good mom, and tomorrow will be better.”

If you’re struggling with negativity, it might be time to work on strategies to adopt a positive mindset. The best antidote to negative self-talk is to practice positive self-talk. 

#13 – Using Your Phone in Bed

Blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime and that you should be awake, so you end up sleeping less. And the sleep that you do get is lower quality. It’s not good for your mood, your energy level, or your productivity.

I like to put away my phone about an hour before I go to bed every night and read instead of scroll.

You can avoid this bad habit by shutting down your mobile devices at the same time every night so that you’re not tempted by Facebook or Instagram.

#14 – Focusing on What You Can’t Control 

It’s pointless to spend your precious time and mental capacity on things that are entirely out of your control.

There are things that you simply can’t control – other people and the weather are what immediately come to my mind. You can only control your own reaction to these things. 

Things you can control: 

  • Your thoughts and emotions
  • Your habits
  • What you do with your time
  • The people you surround yourself with

And that’s about it.

Next time you’re stressed about something, ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change or influence the situation. If not, bless and release. Let it go.

candles and books - bad habits to break

#15 – Overthinking 

Today’s mom is overburdened with way too much information. Our phones make any and all information available to us 24/7, right at our fingertips. We’re able to look up any question we have and get 32,345 answers within 5 seconds. And every single time, the answers are conflicting.

Because we have all of this conflicting info so readily available, it’s nearly impossible to make decisions sometimes. So we overthink. And research. And overthink some more.

How can you counteract this? Make as many decisions as possible in advance. Buy all grey t-shirts and black leggings. Eat tacos every Tuesday and pizza every Friday. Run errands on the same day every week.

I hate leaving the house every day. There’s always a ton to do here, between working, blogging, homeschooling, and taking care of the house. But we have this group of friends that we’re committed to, and we meet up with them somewhere outside every Friday. 

When I’m overwhelmed and feel like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it, we still go to Friday Friend Day. Why? Because I made the decision in advance that that’s what we do every Friday. No overthinking allowed.

Where can you make decisions in advance and stick to them?

#16 – Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a habit that’s fueled by insecurity and comparison. You see those Pinterest-perfect lives and feel like everything you do has to be impeccable. 

But perfection is SO overrated. It has a direct link to procrastination, and it kills productivity. Don’t lose out on amazing opportunities because you’re waiting for whatever you’re doing to be just right – I hate to break it to you, but it never will be.

Instead of shooting for perfection, ask yourself how you can make progress instead. And complete something instead of going over it and over it until it’s “perfect.” 

I’m a recovering perfectionist myself. Two of my most favorite mantras stem from my own perfection:

Perfection isn’t attainable. Just keep doing the next right thing and stop waiting for everything to be perfect!

#17 – Not Staying True to Yourself

I’m almost positive that most of us are guilty of this one. We’re so influenced by our family, friends, coworkers, etc., that we end up losing sight of who we truly are.

Being true to yourself is so important because when you’re authentic, you’ll be able to form true connections with others, and you’ll be happy and comfortable in your own skin.

When you’re true to yourself, it shows in the way you deal with people, how you tackle your tasks, and how you treat yourself.

Make an effort to get to know yourself, and start putting your true self out there. It’s life changing!

My Favorite Habit

Seems random, right? To put something about my favorite habit in a post about breaking bad habits? 

Well, I wanted to mention it anyway, because implementing this single good habit enabled me to quit several of the bad habits on this list.

The best, most productive habit I’ve ever implemented in my entire life is waking up before my kids.

Waking up before my kids allows me to prioritize myself first. And in prioritizing myself, it’s not so hard to find the time to work on eliminating these toxic habits from my life.

I can fill my head with positivity through personal growth books. I can listen to inspiring podcasts that put positive thoughts in my head. I can simply sit with my coffee in the silence and recite affirmations to myself.

Try it! It’s not as hard as you might think.

If you want to be more productive and manage your time better, it’s time to break your bad habits. 

You CAN make these changes. Start with one toxic habit at a time, and focus on breaking just that habit before moving on to the next. Celebrate your small wins. Don’t let yourself get discouraged – you’ll get there! 

It will take some effort and discipline, but I promise that it’s worth it!

What bad habit are you trying to break? Let me know in the comments!

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