harmful habits

7 Harmful Habits You Need To Stop Now


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7 Self-Destructive Habits You Need To Stop Now

“Bad Habits” are like chains that are too light to feel until they are too heavy to carry” said Warren Buffet. A habit, good or bad, can make us or destroy us. As long as we are aware of these habits, we can do something about them. But if we have a blind spot, then its difficult to even realise that we are doing something wrong repeatedly. And this may lead to a consequence that may not be desirable.

Remember, a critical aspect of Self-care is also self-awareness of our flaws and working towards improving them.

Today I am going to talk about some of the negative habits that impact our daily life. We take these as apart of our nature and continue to live them. You need to pause & reflect on these habits now before it gets too late. I also share a few quick and easy tips on how to stop these bad habits.

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7 Bad Habits that You Need to Quit Right Away

toxic habits

Always think of Negative Consequence first

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Firstly let me clarify, this is perfectly normal for us humans and can be explained by the various chemical reactions that happen inside our brain with a chemical called Cortisol. While doing my research, I came across multiple articles explaining this phenomenon. It’s said that Humans were designed to be keenly aware of negative circumstances and consequences as it helped our ancestors survive. Our tendency to pay more attention to bad things and overlook good things is likely a result of evolution. So that’s one way the brain tries to keep us safe. You may like to go through this article which tries to explain this further.

So does it mean that we continue to live with the negative thoughts as they are “normal human behaviour”? The most obvious answer is no. It’s normal to get these thoughts, but it is not advisable to make a habit of dwelling on these thoughts for long. As per the various studies available, the habit of prolonged negative thinking diminishes your brain’s ability to think, reason, and form memories.  There is also a greater risk of dementia if this negative thinking leads to someone becoming cynical as per the Journal of American Academy of Neurology.

So how do we deal with negative thoughts? I am extremely guilty of this one being an overcautious Virgo and usually do these three things:

1. Reason Out

Immediately try to reason out why the negative situation will not occur. I try to give myself a logical explanation

2. Divert your thoughts

Try to divert my mind to some other activity or thought which is positive.

3. Que Sera sera

If I am unable to do both, I leave it in the hand of almighty with a simple prayer that do what you deem fit. It may seem a little philosophical, but this helps immensely when you don’t have control over things. This also goes back to my belief in Everything has a purpose; one of my 5 Essential Life Lessons.

Do not undermine the power of our mind. It can make or break us. I realised this after reading this amazing book “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.”

Social Comparison

10 bad habits

In the social comparison process, people start evaluating their worth in terms of their own attitudes, abilities, lifestyles and traits in comparison with others. These others can be your peers, neighbours, friends, colleagues or even an unknown person next to you. This is the start point of self-deprecating talks, where we continuously belittle ourselves and our achievements. And social media has aggravated this situation further.

After all, if I don’t value & respect myself, how can I expect others to respect me.

Social comparison is fair if it encourages or inspires you to improve your capabilities or adopt some good practices. But if it pushes you down the path of self-loathing or anxiety, then it needs to stop.

How can we ensure that social comparison does not harm our mind?

1. Step back & be realistic

Try to be realistic with your expectations & goals.  What you see around you may not be the reality many times. Even if it is you don’t know what all that person has gone through to reach the stage where he is now.  Everyone has their shares of struggles, some visible and some not so visible. So it’s not fair to compare a point in time status, capability or situation.

Let me give you my example.  I see so many people doing so well in the field of blogging, where I am still a new entrant. I have to continually remind myself that I have a long way to go, and I cannot get disheartened by my pace of growth. Things do take time, and one has to set realistic goals and work towards them diligently. The right approach is to get motivated by my tribe and believe that if they can do it, so can I.

2.  Start your day with three things you are proud of

These can be anything. Your habits like punctuality, cleanliness, discipline, fun-loving nature or your skills like cooking,  parenting, teaching, socialising. These can also be the hobbies that you have nurtured over the years. Each one of us has some positives hidden inside us, which we sometimes neglect or do not give enough importance. Start complimenting yourself, and you will see that you no longer need to look outside for self-satisfaction.

You can also start journalising your journey towards Self Love with this very powerful Self-Esteem Guided Journal.

Trying to be Everything to Everyone

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I am sure many of you moms out there are nodding your head for this. We want to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, ideal daughter in law and an ideal friend. If you are working, please add the perfect employee to the list. And in this entire process, we burn ourselves out. We stretch ourselves trying to please everyone and not taking a much-needed self-care break.

Change this habit now. It’s alright if you are too tired to cook your child’s favourite dish or if a pile of clothes lies unattended for a day. You don’t have to be the epitome of perfection every single day or maybe not at all.

I must confess that I am also guilty of this habit and am trying to change slowly. The urgency of getting things done “perfectly” and stressing myself in the bargain is not a healthy habit.

To change this pattern, I have started practising the following:

1. Take multiple short breaks

Take well-deserved breaks for rest and self-care during the day. There are many quick rejuvenation options that you can try.

I strongly recommend the Self Care Tips shared by Claire Chamberlain as they are extremely helpful.

You will realise that your efficiency increases when you take these power breaks.

2. Commit Realistic Timelines

At work, it may not be alright to delay the office deliverables. Hence always commit realistic timelines and don't be kill yourself to prove your worth.

3. Delegate

Delegate work at home and office and accept that things may not be as "you would do". That's fine as long as everyone pitches in and understand the efforts that go in.

Stay Bitter & Hold Grudges

bad habits you need to quit right away

We tend to hold on to things and incidents that happened in the past & refuse to move on. Since life is not always smooth, it may mean holding grudges against some people who crosses our paths. Now, these may be for real or imagined wrong done to you by that person.  We tend to remain bitter and start brewing negative emotions every time we think about that person or an incident. Is it really worth it?

That person is unaffected by your thoughts or feelings, and here you are allowing your wounds to turn you into a person you are not. It hurts more to hold grudges than to forgive. The anger we hold inside damages us, nobody else. Think about it!

So what can we do about it? 2 simple things:

1. For once give the benefit of the doubt to that person.

The human being is a sum total of his upbringing and experiences that shape his personality. His attitude, mindset, actions & reactions are influenced by this journey. So the person's interaction can either be an outcome of his life journey or an exception due to the circumstances. Therefore there may be something more than what meets the eye for why a person reacted in a certain way. E.g., a situation like the pandemic will have a lasting impact on a person's attitude, mindset & hence his reactions.

Therefore before holding a grudge, give another chance.

2. Ignore Negative thoughts

I love this saying by J.L Beck "Holding grudges is like letting someone live rent-free in your mind". The person who hurt you should be irrelevant to you. So why are you giving him or her so much importance by thinking about him/her? Just start ignoring him/her and these negative thoughts. Once you make this a habit, you will realise that these thoughts stop troubling you.

If you need help, start with reading 365 days of positive Living by Normal Vincent Peale

Miss the Journey while focussing on  the goal

bad habits for students

Have you ever made a road trip for exploring a new place? Do you recollect how you get so lost in your google maps that you forget to enjoy the journey and the beautiful surroundings? What a pity, isn't it?.

The same thing happened in life. Sometimes we are so focussed on our goal that we forget to enjoy the little joys that come on the way. Now I am not saying that one should not work towards the goal, I am only reiterating that the journey is as important as the goal.

I am giving you my example as always. I love painting. When I started painting after so many years,  I was very apprehensive about the final output. As a result, I was always worried if the output will meet my expectations. But lately, I have started enjoying the entire process of seeing colours come alive on canvas. So the process of painting itself has become a de-stressor. Needless to say, the output has also improved because now I am painting for the fun of it rather than the final output.

How can we achieve this?

1. By setting interim flagposts

As we proceed toward our goal, we set up interim flagposts and celebrate every time we achieve these flagposts. I call this Living in the Present using the Flagpost Theory. Read more about this fantastic approach to life. This not only helps us remain focussed but also provides the much-required encouragement as we move from one milestone to the next.

Shiny Object Syndrome

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Let me first explain this syndrome. The shiny object syndrome is when you always see something new and more exciting to do than what you are already doing. It's similar to a child or an animal seeing something shiny far away, getting attracted to it, but losing their interest in it as they approach it. The shininess disappears, and so does the interest in the object. This is mostly used for entrepreneurs who sometimes take on new projects, while not completing those that they have already begun.  This, in turn, leads to low self-esteem, and one starts doubting their own capabilities.

But I feel this is very relevant to all of us in our daily life and we all go through this syndrome in some form or shape.

My example again - as I started my blogging journey, I came across so many experts in this field and wanted to follow all of them. And I did download all the material available from each one of them. End Result - I was thoroughly confused and lost. Also, where is the time to read all this plus write blogs plus promote them? So all these became more of distractions for me rather than channelising me towards my goal.

Having realised my mistake, I change my approach :

1. I set my goal and the path I will choose the achieve that goal

2. Eliminate all other noise or distractions though they may seem very tempting - e.g. some freebies for joining courses being offered.

3. Be patient and follow the drill instead of jumping from one approach to another. Results take time.

 Not Listening To Your Body

effects of bad habits essay

How many of us are guilty of this? Our body is a reflection of our lifestyle. If we lead a healthy lifestyle, our body will give out healthy signals. Otherwise, our body will start giving us hints that something needs to be corrected. In our daily hustle-bustle, we tend to ignore these hints and continue to stress our body. The results can vary from simple body aches and pains to severe break downs in some cases.

Therefore it's important to pause and listen to our body. "To keep the body in good health is a duty.. otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear," said Gautam Buddha.

How do I ensure I do this?

1. Keep myself active but take frequent breaks while working

2. Get my health check-ups done regularly

3. Ensure I exercise regularly but do age-appropriate exercises and not go overboard

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So are we ready to take the plunge for the better and change some of our habits? And as you are starting this journey, remember these 5Rs:

Realise - The most important step towards making a change is the realisation that I have a particular habit which needs to change. Once the realisation comes in, half the battle is won.

Resolve- Be committed to making the change.

React - Take appropriate action in the right direction.

Repeat - Repeat the action every time you face a similar situation. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat till it becomes your new habit.

Reinforce - You will see a change in your attitude towards life and people, which will further reinforce this new habit.


Congratulations if you have gone through this entire blog, you have already achieved the first R.

Remember "The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit" in words of Bryant McGill. And you certainly love yourself more than that.

Therefore Quit these self-deprecating habits now and work towards a New You!

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Rippy Gauba
Rippy Gauba

I am a working professional and a mom of 2 teen daughters. After having worked in the corporate world for 22 years, I am now a free-lance consultant specialising in project management. I am very passionate about spending quality time with my family, my pet CoCo, painting and blogging.

I write on Mindset, Motivation & Management. These are everyday, practical tips I picked up from my personal & professional life. These learnings have impacted my life as an individual, as a parent and as a working professional. I am sure these will be useful for you too and help create Ripples of change in your lives & that's my intention.

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5 thoughts on “7 Harmful Habits You Need To Stop Now”

  1. Wow…
    Have started thinking about my own bad habits…actually habits get so ingrained in our personality that we don’t think of them as good or bad… one has to think hard to realise that some of these habits are actually not very good ones …
    5R’s are the key….Very relevant…very doable
    Superb writing….

  2. Fantastic read! But one needs a lot of discipline… however if we can overcome a few of those am sure we’d reduce and resolve a lot of stressful life that we have been leading ! Thanks Rippi for putting a method to the madness … worth putting into practice!

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