Lifestyle

4 Habits That Are Blocking Your Personal Growth ““ And How to Fix Them

Soham Amatya
Written by Soham Amatya

Habits shape our lives in profound ways. They’re the things that take over when we get up in the morning, groggy-eyed and brain dead, and send us through our rote morning routine. They allow us to complete our everyday tasks at work, things we do over and over, without too much mental effort, so we can devote our precious mental bandwidth to more important tasks.

4-habits-that-are-blocking-your-personal-growth-and-how-to-fix-themGood habits are wonderful things to cultivate. Some people are naturally in the habit of thinking positively, which is incredibly beneficial to one’s mental health. And some people are in the habit of warmly engaging with strangers and acquaintances, which opens the door to many enriching social and networking opportunities for that person.

But wherever there is good, an evil mirror-image lurks behind it. Bad habits are roadblocks on your way to a more positive life. They are as destructive to your personal growth as good habits are positive. While no one can be perfect, we should all strive every day to be better people—and a good starting place is to endeavor to break yourself of bad habits.

Below are four bad habits that stand in your way to a better life. If you suffer from any of these afflictions, I encourage you to begin to work on curing yourself of them.

Relying on yourself to solve all your problems

The habit

You rely on only yourself to deal with the problems life throws at you. You don’t believe anyone else has ever dealt with a similar problem, or—worse yet—you believe you’re the smartest person who ever lived and no one else has advice worth your time. The problems you have are best kept to yourself, you think. It’s best if I just deal with this, I don’t want to worry anyone else.

How to begin fixing it

You should start by learning to better communicate with your friends, coworkers, and loved ones. No one has ever benefited from keeping a secret problem all to yourself. Your friends and family might possess an insight about your personality that will help you solve your problem. At the very least, communicating with others about one of your struggles is a huge relief and will help you feel less stressed about your situation.

Another thing to consider is hiring a life coach. This might seem like a radical step to take, but a life coach can give you an invaluable outsider’s perspective on your life and habits. They’re trained to give you unbiased, unfiltered advice about the habits in your life that are holding you back.

Checking your devices too often

The habit

You get out of the bed in the morning and the first thing you do is unlock your phone to start the slow drip of stimulation that will persist throughout the day. Before you begin work on your important projects at work, you get distracted by all your unread emails in your inbox—and you incessantly keep checking your inbox throughout the day. You open up your smartphone 200 times a day (the national average for Americans, scarily enough.) Before you shut your eyes before bed, the last thing you see is your smartphone’s screen.

How to begin fixing it

This is a tough one. Smartphones and social media platforms were designed to steal away as much of our attentions as they can. While an iPhone is a powerful tool to help us organize our lives, it does a lot of harm by distracting us from the things we find most important.

The easiest way to begin breaking this terrible habit is by putting yourself in situations where you won’t be tempted to check your smartphone or refresh your inbox. Leave your smartphone at home while you go for a walk, or physically power it down when you need to complete an important task. You might also consider scheduling a block on your email during certain hours of the day (you’re able to do this in Microsoft Outlook and most email apps.) You won’t receive any emails during that time, so you can focus, distraction-free, on more important matters.

Not meditating regularly

The habit

You go through your day with distracted thoughts flitting through your head. You are unmindful of your present moment. You believe you’re too busy to meditate during your daily schedule.

How to begin fixing it

The benefits of meditation are beyond dispute. Study after study has shown how meditation makes you less stressed and generally happier. The crux of the matter is just finding the time in your schedule to start a regular meditation practice.

One thing I’ve found helpful is to meditate as soon as I wake up in the morning. I set out my meditation pillow next to my bed before I go to sleep, to remind myself of my intention to meditate that morning. I also set my alarm to go off 15 minutes earlier than I normally would, to ensure I have enough time to get ready in the morning.

Staying up too late

The habit

You wake up feeling tired and groggy in the morning. You think to yourself, I shouldn’t have gone to bed so late last night. What was I thinking? You struggle to remain alert throughout the day, and resolve to go to bed early tonight. But when the evening rolls around, you stay up late in your bed watching Netflix well past the time when you should have gone to sleep.

How to begin fixing it

There are a few components to good sleep that most sleep experts agree everyone should follow—what is now called “sleep hygiene”:

Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet throughout the night

Get on a regular sleep schedule, so you’re not sleeping in until noon on weekends and waking up at 5am on weekdays. Your body just can’t adjust to that irregular of a schedule

Don’t look at your TV, laptop, or smartphone one hour before bed. The blue light of the screen can disrupt your circadian rhythms

If you’re getting poor sleep, you need to work on fixing these three things. To begin, you should focus on just one at a time. Get in the habit of going to bed at a regular time, then focus on not watching devices before bed, for instance. Pretty soon, you will have great sleep hygiene and feel well-rested throughout the day.

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About the author

Soham Amatya

Soham Amatya

Soham is a self-development writer and blogger at sohamamatya.com. He is also co-founder at 10zap.com. When he's not working, he's probably talking science and spirituality with his friends at some cafe around the corner in Kathmandu.