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20 Unproductive Habits You Should Let Go of

20 Unproductive Habits You Should Let Go of

Do you feel like everyone around you is getting stuff done, and you’re, well, not? It’s likely you’ve got one (or several) unproductive habits that aren’t helping matters. Below is a round-up of 20 common unproductive habits you should let go of, stat.

1. Allowing distractions.

Distractions are something we all face–but there’s no law saying you have to cater to them. Just because someone calls, texts, or knocks on your door doesn’t mean you have to drop what you’re doing right that second. You can get back to them during your next break.

2. Not setting goals.

Until you turn what you want into concrete goals to achieve, it’s likely they’ll remain a vague generalization you’ll sigh about from time to time.

3. Setting too many goals.

On the flip side, you don’t want to set so many goals you’re unable to focus a solid amount of time on them–this sorta defeats the purpose. Quality over quantity always wins out.

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4. Procrastinating.

The more you put something off, the less you’re going to feel like doing it. Trust me: the relief you feel once it’s done is well worth the temporary torture.

5. Watching too much television.

If you feel more connected to the characters on your shows than your real friends, it might be time to switch things up a bit.

6. Skipping meals.

There were days I’d get so into what I was writing, I’d forget to eat! (Gasp! I know, right?) Without proper nutrition you send your adrenal glands into overdrive, which depletes your energy and eventually leads to burn-out.

7. Spending recklessly.

When your finances are in disarray, you don’t stand a chance. Keeping your finances organized should be as much a priority as your health.

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8. Dropping everything for other people.

You are in complete control of your life. Respect your time–it’s your most valuable commodity.

9. Not writing anything down.

Writing things down helps you remember what you need (and want) to accomplish. Plus, it’s the best way to keep your mind clear to focus on what you’re doing in the moment.

10. Not having structure.

You don’t need to set a rigid schedule for yourself, Sergeant Crazy! Creating a general morning and evening routine will give you creative pillars to depend on so you can take more risks throughout the day.

11. Not taking breaks.

Your mind and body need a chance to rest, no matter how brief. When you start feeling restless, take a small breather to regroup instead of burning out entirely.

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12. Multitasking.

Again and again, studies show dividing your focus leads to lower quality work, and not to mention, loads of mental stress. Single-tasking not only gives your noggin a rest, it also gives you a greater sense of accomplishment.

13. Making time for personal tasks.

What’s the point of working hard if you’re not reaping the rewards in your personal life? During busier times, at least make sure the bare minimum is taken care of–bill paying, dish cleaning, laundry doing–so your home doesn’t represent your stress level.

14. Over-committing.

Ambition or excitement can too easily get the best of you, causing you to say, “Yes!” to every idea thrown at you. Instead, say “I’ll get back to you.” This will give you time to look over your obligations to see if you really do have the time.

15. Trying to be perfect.

Ah, the dreaded unicorn: perfection. We know it doesn’t exist, yet we still agonize over every little detail, wasting time that should be spent on more important tasks. We should really just stop it.

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16. Avoiding decisions.

Tough decisions are,you know, tough. But if you don’t make them, someone or something will make the decision for you.

17. Consuming unnecessary information.

I find mental clutter to be more overwhelming than physical clutter. Learn the power of one: one email address, one checking account, one savings account. Cut back on the mailing lists you subscribe to so you can focus on what’s really important.

18. Neglecting your health.

Your ambition’s useless when you’re exhausted. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and most importantly, do everything you can to create a consistent sleep pattern.

19. Starting something and not finishing it.

Break every project you’re working on into such small pieces you’re not intimidated by the process of finishing the task. The last 10 percent of the task will always take 90 percent of your energy, so make it count!

20. Failing to admit your mistakes.

Denying your mistakes or blaming others for your problems will do nothing to improve your life or help you reach your goals. Acknowledge your mistakes so that you can learn from them and move on.

What’s your strategy for kicking unproductive habits to the curb?

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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