Photo by Jake Young on Unsplash

“Habits are important. Up to 90 percent of our everyday behavior is based on habit. Nearly all of what we do each day, every day, is simply habit.” Jack D. Hodge

Even with the best intentions, we can shoot ourselves in the foot, so to speak when we are not intentional about our daily lives. Habits are fundamental to our daily lives. We build habits and then they ultimately build us, forming and shaping us into who we become.

But, as we all know, not all habits are beneficial. Some can be quite destructive and undermine what we are trying to accomplish. All habits are a choice. We can choose to remain with our destructive habits or we can choose to be proactive in replacing destructive habits with ones that will help us in our lives.

Here are 10 habits that may be holding you back from accomplishing your goals.

1. You Don’t Have a Daily Routine

A daily routine can help us to stay sane in a chaotic world. It also helps us to stay on track by holding us accountable for what we told ourselves we would do. Having a daily routine provides a framework for accomplishing tasks throughout our day as well as for times of relaxation. it also frees up time for us – that precious commodity- because we spend less time deliberating, procrastinating and worrying about what to do next.  In the same way, we ultimately get our important jobs done in a more timely manner. Having a daily routine builds up momentum as it becomes easier and easier to continue with our plan.

Not having a daily routine leaves us vulnerable to distractions and being led by the wishes and desires of others. When we have a routine, we can get our jobs done and leave time for the unplanned situations that come up. When we don’t have a routine we miss out on all the benefits that having a routine can offer.

2.  You Don’t Plan

We all know that a road trip without a map or a programmed GPS is not likely to go very well. We may end up in a dead-end, or take multiple “alternate routes” before getting to our final destination “if'” we get there at all.  In the same way, not having a plan for what we want to do or accomplish can make the whole process longer and more complicated. Having a plan keeps us on track both in seeing where we are going as well as how long it will take to get there. A plan should include both a map and a timeline. In this way, we derive enthusiasm and satisfaction during the process as well as at the conclusion. Not having a plan can make us feel disorganized, stressed and unproductive and others will see us that way as well.

3. You Shift the Blame

We know that no one wins the blame game. Many situations are out of our control and accidents happen. Unfortunately, it is easier to default to our natural tendency to find out who is responsible and single them out. This choice is onesided – focused on making one person, one group, or even one set of circumstances responsible, but not trying to understand what actually happened. Blaming creates a bias and blinds us from being able to hear or understand the other side and from seeing reality. Blaming is also an avoidance strategy in that it is easier to look outward and find a scapegoat than it is to look inward to see what our share of the responsibility is.

Why do we resort to blaming?

  • We expect life to be fair

  • We are trying to protect ourselves and our reputation

  • We are emotional and irrational beings

4. You Are Distracted by Distractions

Distractions can be like pesky mosquitoes when we want to enjoy a walk in the woods. We spend so much time paying attention to them or trying to swipe them that we can not enjoy the walk. Distractions can be some of our worst enemies especially if they get in the way of accomplishing what we are trying to do or build (a business for example).  They take our focus away from what we are doing and then it can take a certain time to regain our concentration. We need to train ourselves to take care of what is important and ignore the other things for a while. After al,l most of the circumstances or situations that come up are not really emergencies. They can be dealt with later and often, with time, they sort themselves out. Like toddlers when they whining, we need to ignore some things screaming for our attention and maybe, after a while, they will calm down and resolve themselves.

5. You Procrastinate

Procrastination is the habit of pushing what needs to be done to the very last minute. It is avoidance at its finest. sometimes it can be due to a lack of motivation, but often it is covering for the fears we might have. We might not want to start something or take a risk because we are afraid of it not being perfect, that it won’t meet our high expectations. Perhaps we are fearful of failing. We might fear getting married because we are fearful of failing at marriage so we bail out and put off this decision. Conversely, we might be afraid of success. What then? What do we do with all the expectations and responsibilities? These can be overwhelming. We may also be afraid of stepping outside our comfort zone. Procrastination seems easier for us because it pushes the inevitable away from us for a time. But, ultimately, procrastination, if it is an ingrained habit will hold us back in all areas of our life.

6. You Make Excuses

Making excuses is really just how we deal with procrastination. It is our protective door so to speak so that we don’t have to confront our procrastination. We say that we are waiting for the perfect conditions or perhaps we have already closed the door to doing what we should do. What kinds of excuses do we make? Here are a few excuses:

  • No time

  • No energy

  • Too old (or too young)

  • Already tried that

  • No money

  • No skills

  • Not the right time

The fact is, the conditions will never be right; there will always be some obstacle standing in our way,  These excuses can be standing between us and an exciting new stage in our lives, but if we listen to our excuses and believe them, we may never know what could have been.

7. You Have Trust Issues

While it is important to be discerning about who we trust and we should be careful about trusting just anyone indiscriminately, a debilitating lack of trust can be equally damaging.  It can hold us back in so many ways and, in serious cases, affect us in emotional, physical and psychological ways. Lack of trust can also cause someone to become emotionally and socially withdrawn.  But for most of us, a certain lack of trust with certain people or situations can hinder us as well. We know that trust builds social bonds and relationships. It is the cohesive glue for any partnership or team. It can be very difficult for someone to advance in any area of his life where lack of trust exists. When we are not trusting, we don’t have faith in others and we are less willing to try new things. Lack of trust can, in a sense paralyze us and prevent us from growing.

8. You Don’t Admit to Mistakes

It can be very uncomfortable to be in a position where we know we are wrong and should own up to our mistakes. It can be a blow to our ego to be in the wrong and the fear of admitting it can range from feeling uncomfortable to feeling threatened. For some of us, denial and pushing the matter “under the carpet” can feel like an easier option. That way our self-image, the one we have of ourselves can remain intact. We certainly don’t want anyone to see our weak side, so it is better to put up a front of being right. But is avoiding the responsibility of owning up to mistakes the best option?

When we own up to our mistakes, we are doing ourselves a favor. Doing so shows that we are willing to assume responsibility and this in turn, earns the respect of others. Admitting our mistakes and taking our share of the blame also shows that we value and respect the other person and that we are not willing to shed them in a negative light.  Being a person who admits to mistakes makes every situation a win-win.

9. You Don’t Have Boundaries

You do not have to be the punching bag, the pincushion or the workhorse for anyone else. You do not have to be the listening ear for every emotional problem. You don’t need to be a psychologist (unless you are one). By being everything to everyone, you can not be yourself and you can not thrive. How can you tell if your boundaries are a bit loose and need reinforcements?

  • You are too involved in the lives of others

  • You area people pleaser

  • You try to “fix” or control others

  • You take on too much work or too many commitments

  • You have difficulty saying no

  • You have difficulty making decisions

  • You feel responsible for everyone and everything

10. You Work Too Much

Even if you enjoy your work, working too much for kong hours and weeks can take a toll. Sometimes when we enjoy our work we do not see the time go by. We may skip meals and work far beyond the expected hours. For a time, this might be ok, but over a long period, our physical, emotional and mental health may suffer. Sometimes people take on more projects than they can feasibly manage, underestimating the time they will take. They may take on each project with initial excitement and enthusiasm but they may end up overwhelmed and stressed by the magnitude of what they have taken on.

We need to evaluate our reasons for working as much as we do. Are we simply unable to say no or do we feel that it is our responsibility to agree to more tasks simply because we are part of a company? Are we hoping that by taking on more we are somehow hoping to advance our careers? What payoff are we expecting from all this work? No matter what the motive behind working too much, like too much of anything, can unbalance us and cause more problems than positive outcomes

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through