28 Habits That Block Your Happiness And How To Let Them Go

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Today you can choose to ditch these 28 joy-sucking and soul-searing habits, and instead, pick up new life changing happiness rituals. Due to having these habits we can so easily, and unconsciously, create pain and suffering in our lives, repeating and reliving what doesn’t work for us.

If you want to be happier, it’s all about taking control of what you do each day. I highly recommend you:

  • Grab a pen and paper.
  • Go through the list from start to end.
  • Take notes of which habits apply to you.
  • Examine those individually, in more depth.
  • Write down how the habit is affecting your life right now.
  • Write down what you will start doing to create positive change.
  • Utilize the recommended resources to help you implement that change.

1. Lack Of Self Love

“Every time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.” – Swami Kripalvanandaji

Hating on yourself is like drinking poison. It slowly kills your mind, body, and soul. No amount of money, material possessions, experiences, nor juicy relationships will give you happiness if you can’t stand the person you spend every waking moment with… yourself! There is only one thing to know in order to love yourself completely. The truth is you are lovable just as you are. No exceptions, no excuses, no questions, no judgments. Give unconditional love to yourself first. Happiness starts within.


2. Complaining

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

When it comes to complaining, always remember… where your attention goes, energy flows. And where energy flows, something grows! Energy creates your life. Stop directing your energy negatively by focusing on what you don’t like and don’t want. You’ll only magnify those problems and create more of the same. Replace your habit of complaining with a ritual of giving thanks.


3. Blaming

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

Blaming gives your power away, by making that which exists outside of yourself responsible for your happiness. Accept the present moment as it is. Choose a fresh new way of looking at things. Then mobilize yourself to create new circumstances and experiences that align with what you desire.

Happiness Ritual: TAKE OWNERSHIP.

4. Needing To Look Good

“Looking Good-itis” is a disease. Do not change yourself for anyone or anything. Do not be concerned about what others think of you. The thoughts and opinions of others will never validate or define you. Expend effort only on understanding who you are and what is most important to you, then expressing that in every way possible. You ‘look’ best just being who you really are.

Happiness Ritual: JUST BE YOURSELF.

Woman buttons her shirt and examines herself in the mirror.
Courtesy of Milatas (via Canva)

5. Poor Physical Habits

“Why do you do what you do, when you know what you know?” – Dr. Libby Weaver

Ignoring what is good for your body will result in your body dying more quickly than necessary. Harsh but true! Ask yourself if your physical habits are supporting health and happiness in your life. Do what you know is good for you and you’ll not only add years to your life, but you’ll add joy to those years.


6. Being A Slave To Your Fears

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use.” – Ruth Gordon

Living within your comfort zone where you do not meet your fears is not living. It is staying safe. You are bigger and braver than that. Act upon what you really want to do. Your dreams can only become your reality when you allow them the opportunity to spark into life. Fear can either enslave you or motivate you. Choose to harness any fear as fuel to step up and forward in your life.


7. Thinking You Have More Time

What would you do right now if you knew you would die tomorrow? Why are you waiting? Did someone guarantee you won’t die tomorrow? Are you willing to play that lottery? 151,600 people die every day! Now is the only moment you will EVER get. Cherish it and honor the memories of all who have gone before you by living like this life really means something to you.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness Ritual: SEIZE THE DAY.

8. Living Inside A Daydream

Having aspirations and dreams for your future is a magical part of life. Visualizing those aspirations and dreams is a key part of manifesting the life you desire. But living inside the vision of your dreams alone, and never acting upon them, leads nowhere! Commit to one small step you can take each week to make your daydreams for the future become the substance of your present.


9. Gripping Onto The Past

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” – The Serenity Prayer

A white knuckled grip on the past steals your life and joy away. The past doesn’t even exist, it is a mind-made concept of time. You cannot change what has gone before. Reliving it in your mind is torture you don’t deserve. Harness forgiveness to release yourself from the past. Forgiveness is not endorsing what has happened, it is accepting it did and bringing equilibrium to your heart so you feel free to be here and now.

Happiness Ritual: FORGIVE AND RELEASE.

10. Trying To Be Perfect

We live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect beings. Trying to be perfect is impossible. Allow yourself to have high standards of excellence, but know making mistakes as you live your life is the magical way you learn and evolve into your best self. Without your flaws you would never grow into the person you are destined to be.


11. Hanging In The Wrong Circles

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey

Our relationships have the ability to drag us down or to lift us up. Avoid the vortex of negativity that whirls around other people. Just because they welcome you into their storm, doesn’t mean you have to accept the invitation. Be a conscious decision maker and choose to move in circles of people who accept you, allow you to be who you are, and whose energy makes you feel great. In turn, be that person for others as well.


Woman sits removed from the group, looking away sadly.
Courtesy of Fizkes (via Canva)

12. Holding Negative Beliefs

The single most powerful barrier you will face in your life is… yourself! Whatever you believe about yourself and your life becomes your reality. If you have negative beliefs, they’re holding you back. The great news is, you have the power to change them right now. Choose beliefs that work for you (not against you!), and wire them into your mind.


13. Denying Your True Worth

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine.” – Marianne Williamson

Adapting or suppressing yourself in order to make others feel better will never create win-win outcomes. Give the other people in your life more credit. Allow them the chance to see the real you. Don’t let doubt hold you back; kick it to the curb. Value yourself as worthy. Communicate your worth. Act accordingly. It is your own self-belief and acknowledgement of your worth that opens the way for others to believe in you and to embrace your value too.


14. Living A Façade

“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” – Lillian Hellman

Every time you act out of alignment with your values, you shrink and become disconnected from your soul. Live with integrity to keep your soul shining brightly, so the world may know the real you – don’t rob it of that opportunity.


15. Striving to Meet Expectations

Who are you living for? If you are not being who you really are and doing what you love, you are not living for yourself. It is not selfish to live for yourself. It is the one thing you must do, to honor the gift of life you have been given. Fit your own oxygen mask first before helping others. Expectations are put upon every one of us from the day we are born. By our families, peers, workplaces, and by society. While everyone has an opinion of what is best for you, only you know the road-map for your happiness. Tune out the noise of the world and tune into your intuition.

“It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


16. Negative Self-Talk

Your mind can run out-of-control with negative self-talk unless you take control, interrupt it, and feed your mind new empowering messages instead. Rewiring yourself with positive self-talk is one of the simplest, most powerful, and free personal development tools available to you right now. Ditch the devil on your shoulder and become your own best friend.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford


17. Doing Things Solely For Money

There is no excuse for saying you have to do what you are doing just for money. Even if you’re stuck in a job you don’t want to do until you find one you do like, you can CHOOSE other reasons to be there. Get creative. Your perspective on your situation can either drag you down or pull you through. Goals and actions purely driven by money are meaningless. After all, money is paper and coins. Who gets amped about paper and coins?! Get clear on what money actually means to you – what have you associated it with? Does money mean freedom, experiences, time, or success? Name what it means to you. Then remind yourself you’re not doing what you’re doing just for money. You’re doing it for what money gives you access to. Remember, it’s not about what you’re doing, it’s about WHY you’re doing it. When the motivator behind your actions aligns to your values and heartfelt passions, life changes.


Person shown counting $20 bills at their desk.
Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska (via Canva)

18. Being Close-Minded

Human beings are designed to evolve. We evolve through new experiences and new insights. Close your mind and you stunt your growth as a person. Be open to all new information, giving yourself a chance to assess the value of new ideas. Open mindedness is the key that unlocks the door to limitless possibilities. Beware of having rigid opinions. It’s all too easy to become attached to them beyond their use by date.

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” – Frank Zappa


19. Buying Into Mainstream Media

What you see in the mainstream media is only one perspective. Whether it’s the news showing you misery or advertising telling you what you must buy in order to have happiness. Be conscious of what you are absorbing like a sponge.

“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.” – Mitch Albom

Stay the master of your own mind and exercise your free will consciously. Decipher what content out there enhances your life and what leaves you feeling ‘less than.’ Adjust your lifestyle accordingly.


20. Lack Of Balance

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” – A.J. Reb Mater

When our priorities get out of whack, something has to give. We cannot neglect our relationships while working longer hours to be more ‘successful’ and have more money. We need not sacrifice money in order to have happy relationships and better health. It is entirely about balance. When we lean too far in one direction, we fall over. It is up to us to make conscious decisions that keep us balanced, with both feet firmly grounded in each key area of our lives. Make choices that support balance and wellbeing.


21. Pushing Against The Natural Flow

“Everything that you want is downstream… And you don’t even have to turn the boat and paddle downstream, just let go of the oars, the current will carry you.” – Esther Hicks & Abraham

Sometimes we push so hard to ‘get’ the things we want, we don’t realize we are forcing and going against the natural flow of life. You can resist ‘what is,’ and push hard to change it. Or you can accept ‘what is’ peacefully and still take positive action to create new openings for change. Same ‘doing’ but totally different way of ‘being.’ How you are being in the world, the energy you bring, has everything to do with your outcomes.


22. Being Risk Averse

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” – Denis Waitley

We won’t risk what we value too much. But be very careful about what you think you value. For what in this world has any true value? Everything is impermanent. Everything comes and goes. Get clear on what price you are putting on your happiness.

Would you risk your happiness in order to stay ‘safe?’
Would you risk your dreams in order to have certainty?
Would you risk your passions for your comfort zone?
Would you rather familiar discomfort or unfamiliar possibilities?


23. Censoring Your Self-Expression

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn

Keeping your authentic voice locked inside, for whatever reason, is a game of hide-and-seek, but no one is seeking. Don’t keep yourself in the dark. Speak your mind, speak your heart, and allow your energy to free flow. Bottled up self-expression is a literal back-log of emotion that has nowhere to go and no choice but to implode inside of you. For the sake of your health and happiness, you need to be fully expressed.

Happiness Ritual: EXPRESS YOURSELF.

Woman hangs watercolor paintings on a brick wall.
Courtesy of Golubovy (via Canva)

24. Living As A Non-Failure

You were not born to live in the gray twilight. Granted, you cannot fail when you never try, but you cannot succeed either! You are a born creator, designed to aspire and to act. Failure is part of the process. Failing is part of your natural design. Embrace mistakes and shortcomings as part of the journey. They are not abnormal.

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

When you fail at something, you are not a failure. You are a person who is daring to do mighty things who has hit bumps on the road as all mighty darers do!

Happiness Ritual: BE WILLING TO FAIL.

25. Lack Of Committed Action

Inaction is the death of all dreams. Magical things happen in your life not because of big leaps, but from many seemingly insignificant steps that add up over time. Procrastination and inaction can be whipped into shape by realizing even infinitesimal actions can massively change the trajectory of your life.


26. Being Too Busy

Too busy being busy? Busy doing things and going places that keep demanding your attention, but maybe aren’t resulting in the life you want? If you don’t like some aspect of your life, but you’re not reprioritizing your time and effort in order to make changes, then you can surely expect to keep getting the same results. Anyone can find even a little time in their day to start a process of change. You will find that time when it’s important enough to you. Get clear on your values, get clear on what needs to change, and go about creating space for that change now.


27. Anticipating Problems

If you see the glass as half-empty and you walk through your daily life on high-alert for problems, watch out… as that is what you will find! Our brains are wired to look for evidence to support our perspective of the world. Anticipate miracles and see what happens.


28. Living On Auto Pilot

Your brain will function without any effort on your part. Your body will to a certain extent as well. Allowing your entire life to be run on auto-pilot functioning is called Default Living. If you want a certain kind of life experience, get out there and truly live! Get consciously conscious – be present and aware in the moments of your day, that is where joy exists. Make decisions for yourself, least life will come along and make them for you!

Happiness Ritual: LIFT YOUR AWARENESS.

Ready To Change Habits But Feeling Overwhelmed?

It’s all about your choices in each moment. All you need to do is focus on the present moment. You could look at this list of habits to let go of and rituals to replace them and say, “It all sounds great, but it’s not that easy.” Or, you could look at this list and say, “I’m starting with ONE choice in this moment that will enhance my happiness.” Then rinse and repeat! In each coming moment, choose again.

Article written by Bernadette Logue, Transformation Life Coach, author, and leader of The Daily Positive, originally published on her website here. You can follow Bernadette at The Daily Positive on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube  for our best videos.  

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