how to get rid of bad habits

8 habits that are holding you back from success and how to overcome them

It is important to get rid of bad habits as they can stop you from realising your true potential and achieving success in life.
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It’s 9 am. Your work-from-home shift has started and you have to finish a report by the end of the day. Thinking that you have the entire day in hand, you begin to procrastinate and leave the assignment for later. It’s almost mid-day and you haven’t started working on the report. At that moment, you receive an email containing another assignment that you must finish the same day.  Now, you begin to panic and rush to finish both the assignments, which throws your routine off balance. Sounds familiar? Even a single bad habit can hamper your productivity and also hinder you from accomplishing other goals.

Therefore, it is important to get rid of the bad habits that hold you back from reaching your dreams. In his book, Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions That Will Help You See It and Seize It, author John C Maxwell writes, “If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream.”

Breaking bad habits, however, is not that easy, especially the long-standing ones. They are born out of your need to feel good and some of them are so deeply ingrained that you can’t even notice them. But if you are determined to succeed in life, you must develop an awareness of the bad habits that can sabotage your efforts of improving yourself. To help you in your quest, here are the eight most common bad habits that can prevent you from being successful in life and how to overcome them.

Staying in the safety of your comfort zone

If you are holding yourself back from doing something because you are afraid of the outcome, you will never go far in life. Failure is inevitable. But if you view your mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, success will soon come knocking on your door. Business tycoons such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffet also experienced failures but they didn’t let the setbacks stop them from going after their dreams. They persisted and achieved success. So, take that leap of faith and get out of your comfort zone.

Roy T. Bennett, the author of the book The Light in the Heart: Inspirational Thoughts for Living Your Best Life, says, “Real change is difficult at the beginning, but gorgeous at the end. Change begins the moment you get the courage and step outside your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Pleasing others

People-pleasing is an unhealthy trait. Those who indulge in this habit feel that they have no other option but to mould themselves according to the expectations of others. A 2017 survey found that there are two types of people pleasers—approval seekers and disapproval avoiders. Confidence coach Dan Munro, who conducted the survey, says, “While approval seekers crave for attention, those who avoid disapproval hide in the shadows.”

While you may believe that pleasing others can make them like you, the harsh truth is that you end up feeling disempowered and invalidated. This bad habit robs you of your self-esteem and makes you feel worthless. Remember, it is okay to disagree. You have your own thoughts and opinions and they don’t always have to match with others.

Saying yes to everything

How often do you say yes to something when you wish you could have said no? This little habit can lead to resentment and frustration, negative feelings that could have been easily avoided if you had just said no. In his book, The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness author James Altucher says, “When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.”

Not asking questions

If you are someone who sits quietly during meetings, does not participate or ask questions, you will always have doubts about work. Asking questions doesn’t just clarify your doubts, but also shows that you are taking an interest in your work. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organisations. It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas. It fuels innovation and performance improvement besides building rapport and trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering unforeseen pitfalls and hazards.” Not asking questions is a bad habit that you should get rid of as soon as it starts growing roots.

Leaving things to the last minute

Procrastination is something everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives. It usually involves ignoring an unpleasant but important task in favour of something easier and enjoyable. According to research, “an estimated 80% of students and 25% of adults admit to being chronic procrastinators,” reports BBC. Fortunately, there are things you can do to get rid of this bad habit and start getting things done on time. Be mindful of deadlines, resist the urge to delay your work, create and stick to a to-do list, and eliminate distractions such as personal communication or social media updates.

Being negative about everything

“The greatest enemies of success and happiness are negative emotions, of all kinds,” says Brian Tracy author of the book, Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. can hold you down, stop you from pursuing your goals, and take away all your joy in life. Thankfully, there are ways to stop that negativity from taking over your life. All you need is a bit of perseverance and practice.

It starts with realising what you can and can’t control, practicing gratitude, journaling your thoughts so that you can recognise the negative emotions, eating healthy and taking responsibility for your actions. This way, you will be able to invite positivity and develop a healthy outlook toward life.

Making assumptions

Assumptions often lead to misunderstandings and disappointments. If your partner hasn’t been talking much of late, don’t assume that they are upset with you. Ask what they are going through and how you could assist them. Similarly, if your boss contradicted your ideas during a business meeting, don’t assume that they did so because they want to put you down. They may have found another idea more suited to their needs. So, instead of making assumptions, simply ask and get clarity, which helps you improve your work and personal relationships and steer you in the right direction in life.

Blaming others for your mistake

When you make a mistake, it is tempting to shift the blame to others. But you must resist that temptation and get rid of this bad habit. According to a Harvard Business Review article, How to Stop the Blame Game, research suggests, “people who blame others for their mistake lose status, learn less and perform worse relative to those who own up their mistakes.” Additionally, this blame game can have a serious disadvantage when it comes to creativity, learning and innovation. Moreover, when you take responsibility for your actions, you will be able to find your faults and make the necessary changes to fix the problem.

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