We all want to succeed and be happy in life. However, in our pursuit for happiness and success, we often thwart our own success along the way without even realizing it.
Certain bad habits curtail our productivity, wellbeing, and hinder our chances of achieving success and happiness.
So, what do you do about it and stop subotagging your own happiness and success?
Well, it starts with identifying and correcting those things that stand in your way, hinder, and hamper your success.
Habits that Hamper Happiness and Success
Here are five common habits and self-sabotaging ways you may be thwarting your own happiness, health, and success without realizing it that you should correct:
1. You don't get enough sleep
People today are sleeping less and less in a bid to get more done in a single day. While you may think you are helping yourself get ahead by depriving yourself of sleep, you are in fact subotagging your own health, curtailing your own happiness, and ultimately hampering true success.
Maria Konnikova, psychology Ph.D. and popular writer for The New Yorker observes that a crucial function of a good night’s sleep is to purge out biochemical waste products that result from our conscious brain activities.
When you don’t catch enough sleep every night, you contribute to a buildup of harmful proteins in the brain that put you at risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Get enough sleep each night to allow your brain to rest, rejuvenate and function at its best. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults.
2. You multitask too much
Our modern society loves and encourages multitasking. How many times have you seen job descriptions where it says applicants should be ‘Good at multitasking?’ As a creative and business professional, you may even be proud that you can write, text, chat on Facebook and listen to the radio all at the same time.
However, multitasking hinders focus and forces people to use the brain sub-optimally. When you multitask your attention is divided. You take longer to complete tasks and are predisposed to exhaustion and easily avoidable mistakes.
A 2010 French study found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without too much trouble, because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. Add a third task, however, and it can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase the number of mistakes you make.
Focus on one thing at a time to enhance attentiveness and boost your chances of success, at least where it concerns cognitive tasks like writing, data analysis, strategic planning.
3. You browse the internet mindlessly
One of the biggest time suck and productivity killer of our time is mindless internet surfing - using the internet without really having a clear reason or purpose for why you are doing so.
When you surf the internet mindlessly, you waste precious time, become less productive, affect your mental and emotional state, and you can end up more stressed, tired, and restless.
Many of us suffer the addictive urge to “browse just a little more” in between our daily work tasks. We tell ourselves we will just take a quick peek at our Facebook news feed, skim through our favorite blog, or watch just one YouTube video and then get back to work.
Unfortunately, the internet and social media are designed by very smart people to ensure that one YouTube video leads to another and one web article links to another, and so on to infinity. We soon end up wasting countless productive hours on pointless web browsing, often consuming bad news, misinformation and conspiracy theories online that trigger us negatively.
Discipline yourself to use the internet more consciously and deliberately. Set rules that govern your time spent online. For example, set a half-hour for checking and responding to emails, an hour for browsing the day’s news, a half-hour for updating your social media accounts, and so on.
You may also use an app to block online distractions and prevent Internet access for a period of time so that you can stop checking your phone unnecessarily, focus on the task at hand, and get more done.
Quit the incessant Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagraming…and so in between work. Just be more intentional with your time and in your internet use.
Say "No" to internet addiction. You'll be happier, healthier and more successful when you stop mindless internet use.
4. You always take without giving
One thing about pursuing happiness and success is that it is often mistakenly characterized by excessive devotion to oneself and our own interests. In a bid to succeed and be happy, we look out for our own interests only. Period. We clamor for vain things like fame and more money for ourselves. We eventually become more "takers" and less "givers."
Ironically, the singleminded pursuit of happiness and success that turns us into always "takers" and less "givers" thwarts our chances of true success and happiness. If you want to be truly happy and successful, you must give and not always take. Give your time, give your skills, give yourself to the causes and benefit of others, as well.
When you are always looking to take and take and take without giving out, you will come across as crass and without refinement. You will be off-putting to people, step on so many toes, and earn many foes in your quest for success. This will complicate things and make any "success" you get sour and achieving happiness that much harder.
Roy Baumeister, social psychologists at Florida State University and author of the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, says that what sets human beings apart from animals is not the pursuit of happiness, which occurs all across the natural world, but the pursuit of meaning, which is unique to humans.
People who lead meaningful, happy and successful lives get a lot of joy not from the ability to take the most from others, but the ability to give the most to others.
5. You live your life in the fast lane
Our fast lane lifestyle today has become a grueling race towards an abstract finish line where we think happiness and success lie. It's glorified in the media as an exciting and eventful lifestyle, one bringing quick riches, happiness, and success. But does life in the fast lane really make your successful and happy?
People on the fast lane are usually impatient and anxious about everything and wish to avoid even the slightest delay at whatever cost. They gobble up their meals in a flash, zoom through projects, and skim through reports. They view speed as something positive—something that will help them do more and reach their goals faster.
Unfortunately, this attempt at hyper-activity often makes us less productive. Life and important moments with those who matter in our lives pass us by never to return before we can even enjoy them. We often burn out on the fast lane and can end up depressed when the slow and steady natural course of life refuses to be rushed.
Nature's way is slow and steady and assured. You may not notice the paced way in which a small plant grows into a giant oak, or even the steady pace of the sun as it travels across the sky to set in the west—the natural world is never in a frenzy. Trying to rush everything is usually the wrong way to go that may be sabotaging your own happiness and success.
When you move through life at a frantic pace, you become irritable, stressed, and prone to errors and health problems, including depression. However, living in the moment, continually pushing yourself to the next level, and enjoying the process is more satisfying and leads to lasting success and happiness.
Calmness, focus, and mindful pursuit helps you achieve more and get more done better. Japanese manga artist Natsuki Takaya advises: “...you must always be yourself, and do things at your own pace. Someday, you'll catch up.”
Slow down, breathe, look around, and enjoy life. Work hard, be persistent, and patient. Don't forget to commit to good habits, like regular exercise and healthy dieting. The happiness and success you will get as a result will be more than worth it in the end.