Our habits are what ultimately build who we are. If we build positive daily habits, we create ourselves in a positive and thoughtful direction. If we build negative ones, we wake up in deep holes while at the same time wondering how we got there in the first place. The key, then, is to understand how these behaviors come to be—and have the awareness to spot those that prohibit larger, more positive growth.
Here are some of the most common “bad traits” that tend to sneak under the radar and cause more harm than good.
1. You Don’t Follow Through
Yes, this is a habit. Whether you’re promising to take out the trash, or to get the merger deal signed and delivered by Friday end-of-day, both are a function of the same routine—you have to follow through. And what you don’t realize is that in not following through, you end up creating more work for yourself on the back end.
2. You Ride Instead of Run
A metaphor and a literal translation of one’s work ethic, “riding” the bus is a very different experience than running alongside it. Be the runner, not the rider. Contrary to popular belief, you will feel much more alive when you are part of the experience and the collaboration rather than just tagging along. If you’re tagging along, you’ll feel groggy and disposable. Get involved.
3. You Don’t Make Time to Sleep
This whole “I work more and sleep less than you” competition is pretty much a charade. Humans have to sleep. We all have to. You’ll fall asleep sometime, regardless. So make it a schedule, make it a daily priority, find your rhythm, and leave it at that.
4. You Say More Negative Things Than Positive
Being a downer does nothing but suck the energy out of everyone—including you. Find the positive and focus on that.
5. You “Have to Be Right”
There’s nothing quite like an endless argument—so, let it go.
6. You Forget to Breathe
I mean this in the most literal way—if you don’t make time to get back in your body and actually feel yourself breathe, then you aren’t just busy. You’re coping. Get back in touch with your core self, ASAP.
7. You Check Your Email Every Three Seconds
Nobody is going anywhere. No one is dying. Relax.
8. You Eat Lots of Sugar
Health lesson here: Sugar carbs spike your insulin. If your breakfast is frosted flakes, that might explain why for the first hour you feel great and the second hour you feel like you want to take a nap. Eat less sugar.
9. You Drink Too Much Coffee
The gray area between moderation and addiction lies somewhere between one Grande dark roast and three Venti black eyes.
10. You Only Work and Never Play
Especially if you’re in a creative industry, you have to make time for input, not just output.
11. Your Circle of Friends Is One Dimensional
This can be exceedingly exhausting. Branch out a bit and surround yourself with people who will make you think differently.
12. You Don’t Exercise
Again, it’s contrary to popular belief, but standing still doesn’t make you feel energized and alive. The body wants to be pushed, challenged, torn apart, and rebuilt again. Give it that freedom.
13. You Don’t Study Your Craft
Energy is earned. We have more of it when we do the things we feel good about. And you can’t feel good about something unless you work at it. Put in the work, and you’ll feel energized.
14. You Try to Do Too Much at Once
It’s an art learning how to take on just enough so that you’re comfortably busy, but not so much that you’re constantly drowning.
15. You Don’t Practice Appreciation
Living a happy life has far less to do with what you achieve or earn, and far more with how much you can appreciate. It’s a practice, and deserves attention every single day.
16. You Don’t Listen
By not taking the time to listen to others, you make them feel disrespected. In turn, they react negatively toward you, and on and on the cycle goes. Take the extra minute and lend an ear.
17. You Aren’t Doing What You Love
The ultimate energy-suck is not doing what you are completely and utterly obsessed with. Do what you love, and you’ll have more energy than you know what to do with.
By Nicolas Cole of Inc.