21 Bad Habits To Break If You Want To Be Happy

bad habits to break

Happiness doesn’t require much but sometimes we are the ones who make our lives miserable by practicing bad habits on a regular basis.

For instance, if you want to be happy and yet rely on junk foods to supply your body with the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive, you will constantly battle fatigue, depression, and other ailments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating unhealthy food can lead to weight gain, obesity, and other chronic conditions such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

If you have a sweet tooth and often consume a lot of sugary snacks or beverages, you may be putting your health at risk.

Apart from poor nutrition though, many other bad habits prevent people from being happy in life.

In this article, we take a look at some things you may be doing that are affecting your overall level of happiness.


Do you constantly feel depressed and unhappy with your life? Here is a list of bad habits to break if you want to become the best version of yourself:

#1 Putting others before yourself all the time

Do you often take care of other people and neglect your personal needs?

The most common reason why many individuals are not living their best lives is that they’ve abandoned themselves to make everyone else happy.

If you’re always putting yourself last and making others a priority in your life, you’ll feel depleted, unloved, and resentful, which can create feelings of sadness and dissatisfaction.

Learn to prioritize your needs and say “No” when you can’t perform a task instead of using up all your resources to improve other people’s lives.

bad habits to break if you want to be happy

#2 Seeking validation from other people

When you seek approval from other people, you’re practically giving them the power to control the level of your happiness.

This means if someone doesn’t like what you’re doing, you’ll get anxious or sad even though you were okay with your performance in the beginning.

It’s unwise to expect the people around you to approve of your actions all the time.

Most times, you’re the only one who knows what you truly want and if you give that responsibility to someone else, you’ll struggle to be happy in life.

Don’t seek external validation to increase your self-esteem; look within to build your confidence.

#3 Not setting good boundaries in your life

Having healthy boundaries is extremely important as an individual.

Whether it’s in a relationship, at the office, or within a family, boundaries ensure you’re not taken advantage of or used as a doormat.

Without boundaries, you’ll be unable to manage your time wisely or take proper care of yourself, which can lead to an unsatisfactory life.

If you have the habit of being open to everyone and allowing people to treat you anyhow they like, try to enforce some non-negotiable rules in your life to protect you from malicious persons.

#4 Dwelling on negative thoughts for too long

Another bad habit to break if you want to be happy is to stop thinking about negative things that happened in the past or what could go wrong in the future.

When you allow your mind to be saturated with negativity over a long period, you’ll slowly descend into a downward spiral of fear-inducing and unhelpful thoughts.

Try to always cultivate a positive mindset and expect the best outcome in everything you do.

#5 Caring too much about what other people think of you

I used to place so much importance on what other people thought, felt, and said about me that I didn’t focus on living my best life.

It got to a point where I would get panic attacks if I heard something negative or derogatory that another person said about me.

Caring a lot about other people’s opinions made me mentally and emotionally imprisoned.

I couldn’t do anything until I was sure everyone will be pleased and even if one person was dissatisfied, I would feel like a failure.

Over the years, I’ve realized that no matter what I do, people will talk anyway so I might as well do whatever I want as long as it’s right.

Do you constantly pay attention to other people’s opinions about you? That’s another bad habit preventing you from experiencing real happiness in life.

bad habits to break

#6 Focusing on your past mistakes

Living in the past prevents people from enjoying the present moment and envisioning a better future.

According to Avis J. Williams, author of The Psychic Mind, “You cannot change the past, but you can make a difference now”.

If you’re always recalling painful memories about things that happened a long time ago, it will be difficult to stay happy and live a good life in this current reality.

Life is a gift so cherish it and try to get the best out of it while you’re still breathing instead of going back to the past and wishing you could change things that have already happened.

#7 Not listening to your instincts

Ignoring your gut feelings and going ahead to do something when you know the outcome won’t be favorable is a recipe for disaster.

Human beings were given instincts for a reason and that’s to protect us from imminent danger.

So if you’re used to doubting yourself and not paying attention to your inner guide, you’ll have many unpleasant experiences in your life.

Learn to trust your judgment more often and don’t intentionally put yourself at risk when you know something isn’t right for you.

#8 Letting other people micromanage you

Life is an individual race and everyone is responsible for themselves.

When you let others make important decisions for you, you’ll be living an inauthentic life.

If you’ve been allowing someone else to micromanage you, take charge of your life today and stir it in the direction you want it to go.

#9 Allowing your emotions to control you

Lack of self-control often leads to unplanned outcomes, regret, and unhappiness in life.

When you don’t manage your emotions well, you’ll behave irresponsibly, make terrible mistakes, and even hurt someone in the process.

Emotional stability is needed for a healthy and happy life, so learn to control your feelings by taking deep breaths and pausing before you speak.

bad habits to break if you want to live healthily

#10 Eating junk food regularly

Unhealthy eating habits are another reason why many people feel tired and unhappy in life.

When you don’t eat well, your body grows weak because it lacks the required nutrients it needs to flourish.

It’s okay to binge on fast food and sweetened beverages once in a while, but if almost everything you eat is processed, you’re not living a healthy life and are at risk of developing a chronic condition.

Try to cook your own meals at home and reduce the amount of sugar you take on a daily basis.

#11 Not exercising often

Exercise has been proven to reduce depression, aid weight loss, promote quality sleep, and improve overall well-being.

However, not everyone is disciplined enough to commit to a regular physical activity or workout routine.

According to research studies, lack of exercise leads to low energy levels, poor mental health, and chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.

If you work from home, in an office, or have a sedentary lifestyle, you must exercise your body consistently to stay healthy and fit.

While it’s challenging to exercise regularly, following a weight loss program or working with a fitness coach is a good way to stay committed to healthy living.

#12 Not getting enough sleep daily

Sleep is essential to the development of the human body and if you’re not getting enough, it can affect the quality of your life.

Medical experts recommend that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily to maintain optimal health.

Do you get enough rest every day? If you have the habit of staying up late at night, try to catch up on some sleep later in the day by taking short naps.

Getting enough sleep on a regular basis can boost your mental health, increase your productivity, and improve your overall wellness.

bad habits to break to increase your happiness

#13 Being on social media all the time

Another bad habit to get rid of is spending most of your time online scrolling through feeds.

Consuming too much information on the internet can be harmful to you if you don’t create time to be productive in your life.

It’s good to be up to date with what’s going on in the world but don’t get addicted to using social media as a source of entertainment.

Maintain a good balance by reading books, taking long walks in nature, and connecting with people around you.

#14 Isolating yourself from family and friends

During challenging times, most people withdraw from society and isolate themselves in a bid to manage the crisis alone.

While it’s commendable to fight your battles bravely, pushing people away in your darkest moments is not a good idea.

Allow those who love you to give you a helping hand and show you support when you need it.

The key to bouncing back fast when you fall is to lean on others for strength and guidance, so don’t struggle with your problems in silence.

#15 Not engaging in self-care activities often

Many people think practicing self-care is selfish but it’s a healthy activity that can help you unwind after a long day at work or school.

Neglecting your self-care routine can lead to sickness, poor emotional well-being, and mental disorders.

According to healthcare professionals, a lack of regular self-care causes increased stress, burnout, low energy, feelings of hopelessness, and many other physical symptoms.

If you want to be a happy person and live your best life, you must take proper care of yourself regularly.

#16 Not communicating your needs to your loved ones

If you find it challenging to ask for help or tell people what you need, you’re not alone.

Most people think being open and vulnerable with your loved ones means you’re weak, so they pretend to have it all together.

However, when you don’t communicate what you want, the people around you won’t know how to help and you’ll feel neglected because your needs are unmet.

To increase your level of happiness, learn to reach out when things get tough and don’t try to look perfect all the time.

#17 Accepting bad behavior from the people you care about

It’s normal to ignore a disrespectful person you meet in a restaurant or on the street because you may never interact with them again.

But it’s often challenging to set boundaries with family members and friends, so you tolerate their bad behavior even though you’re unhappy with it.

Pretending to be okay with something when you’re not is another bad habit people have that steals their joy.

Learn to speak up when you can’t tolerate a certain behavior from a loved one.

It’s better you let them know early so they can adjust their attitude instead of feeling resentful for the way you’re being treated.

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bad habits to break

#18 Not creating alone time for yourself

Having some alone time on a regular basis is essential to a healthy and happy life.

You can use this period to engage in meaningful hobbies and self-care activities that replenish your mind, body, and soul.

Sadly, not everyone can afford to spend time alone because of uncontrollable circumstances.

For example, if you’re a mom with little kids who need constant attention, you may find it difficult to enjoy some quality “Me” time.

While this is understandable, it’s not healthy for you in the long run. You’re not a robot who can work without play and still be productive.

No matter how busy you are, try to create some quiet time where you’ll do something that makes you feel happy or relaxed.

#19 Paying too much attention to your insecurities

If you look at my photos, you’ll notice that I have a lazy eye. This condition has made me feel insecure since I was a child and it got worse when I started dating.

I always felt I looked like a monster and that no one will love me except my family members.

It turns out, I was paying too much attention to my insecurities because my husband loves me dearly regardless of how I look and doesn’t get turned off by my physical appearance.

If you have any insecurities or flaws that make you feel unworthy, try to ignore them and instead focus on your best qualities.

The truth is that no one is perfect and we all have things we don’t like about ourselves. However, the right person for you will love you just the way you are.

#20 Comparing yourself to other people

Comparison is a bad habit that often leads to jealousy, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction in life.

When you envy other people and wish for the things they have, you’ll forget to be grateful for what you already have.

Once you get into the never-ending cycle of comparing yourself, you’ll constantly feel insecure because there will always be someone who will be better than you.

If you want to be happy, have a list of things you truly desire in your life and focus on achieving them legitimately.

Avoid comparing yourself to the people around you and don’t ever take shortcuts to attain your goals.

bad habits to break

#21 Living above your means

Another bad habit to avoid is overspending and living above your means to impress others.

When you don’t manage your money well, you’ll often find yourself in a financial crisis and struggle to live a genuinely happy life.

If you constantly live paycheck to paycheck, it’s likely because you are not good at budgeting your income.

The good news is, reading personal finance blogs and educational books can help you develop good financial management skills, so you don’t have to go through the feast and famine period every month.

To live a more satisfying life, dedicate time to understanding how money works and become better at managing your cash flow.


Living a happy life requires practicing healthy habits consistently.

It doesn’t stop at wishing for a brighter future; you have to actively work towards getting the life you desire.

If you want to increase your level of happiness, you must refrain from unhealthy eating, caring too much about what people say, depriving yourself of sleep, and other bad habits listed in this article.

When you take proper care of yourself and do the right things, you’ll enjoy a deeply fulfilling life.


Recommended Reading:

15 Good Financial Habits Of Frugal People

11 Actionable Tips For A Happy And Stress-free Life

How To Stop Being A People Pleaser And Put Yourself First

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi
 | Blog

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

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