how to be happy

10 Happiness Stealing Habits to Avoid At All Costs

You become the sum of your thoughts and actions.  Your habits can deprive you of living a happy life. Here are ten examples of habits to avoid if you want to be happy:

1.  Comparing yourself to others.

When you look at Facebook you mostly see people having a great time. You might think to yourself that your life is boring compared to theirs. A few goofy photos don’t tell the whole story about someone’s life. Often, we compare our everyday lives to other peoples’ highlights. It is a bad habit. It will leave you unsatisfied. Pay little attention to other peoples’ success stories. If you really have to make comparisons, compare yourself to yourself. Give yourself credit for your accomplishments. Even reaching small goals are important to note. Respect your accomplishments. Even the greatest accomplished by one step at a time.

It is important to have other people in your life. Have fun with them. Enjoy their company. Use their energy to help you reach your goals. Look at others to get inspired. Do not allow yourself to get frustrated by other peoples’ accomplishments. Remember, you have your own goals and your own timelines.

2.  Trading your happiness for money.

Your work must make you happy. Does that mean that your job is nothing but fun and laughter? Of course, not, but you can’t accept being miserable with your job. It is a recipe for disaster. Happy people seek happiness through work. They don’t accept that work is dying between Monday and Friday.

We spend more time working than any other activity. If you hate your job, you are trading your happiness for money. It is important to find meaning in your job beyond your paycheck. If the only good thing you get out of your job is a paycheck you set yourself up for misery.  Even if you aren’t jumping out of bed every Monday morning, you’ve got to find some positives in your job.  Don’t accept that work is something you must endure to get through life. If you go down that road, your resentment will have an impact on more than just your professional career.

Your job can’t just be about money. Most of it has to be you. What you want and what makes you happy. Don’t settle for a paycheck without some level of fulfillment.

3.  Feelings of hatred toward others.

Hatred is a self-inflicted pain. It never produces any positive results. Hatred is the easy way out. It’s almost like giving up. You are under stress. You are hurt. You generalize. When you hate something or someone you separate yourself. In essence, you are running away. Resisting hatred doesn’t mean that you will live everyone and everything.

It’s OK to dislike something. You might not like vanilla ice cream, and that’s OK. You prefer other flavors. To hate vanilla ice cream is a fixed aversion, a final judgment. To dislike is OK, but to hate is judgemental.

The biggest problem with hatred is that it leads to self-hatred. If you can stop hating others you will stop hating yourself.

4.  Waiting for the right time.

There is no such thing as the right time. Life events were not meant to be timed perfectly. Welcome events as they happen. Don’t expect things to happen at certain times. I need for “this” to happen before I am ready for “that.” Stars will never align perfectly. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity, the perfect job, the perfect house, or the perfect lover. Embrace the Now. States of perfections don’t exist. The happiest people embrace imperfection. Taking action even then timing isn’t perfect will help you reach your greatest potential.

5.  Holding on to painful relationships.

Sometimes it feels easier to hold onto a painful relationship than to let go. Even though you are hurting, you are in familiar territory. You are hurt over-and-over, yet you are holding on.  Happy people accept that fact that some people will not like them. We want everyone to like us, but it is impossible. Holding onto painful relationships is a waste of energy. Letting go of painful relationships a step closer to happiness.

6. Allowing fears to rule your days.

Most of your worries will never come true. Wake up and realize it right now.  When you write down the last ten fears you had, how many of those fears became a reality? Even if one of your fears came true was it really as bad as you had expected? Most of the time the fear of something that may happen is worse than the very thing you are afraid of.

When you live in fear you are giving space to useless thoughts. In a sense, you are wasting time and energy. You focus on what doesn’t matter while you are missing out on reality. Think about all the happy thoughts you have traded for empty fears over the years. Take control over your thoughts now and reject fears. As you let go of fears you will become a more productive happier person.

7.  Focusing on hard times.

Don’t let hard times get to you. Difficulties are part of life and they make life more enjoyable. Yes, I said it. You need difficulties to appreciate your life more. Don’t make more of a bad day than what it is, just another day. Don’t make a big deal out of it.

Hard times help you improve, make adjustments. You encounter a difficulty and you adjust. It is simply an opportunity for improvement. If you make too much of it, you make it a bigger part of your life than it needs to be.

Welcome difficulties as new possibilities.  Life events can be terrible at times. It is always your choice how you move on from them.

8.  Building a life around fleeting pleasures.

A life built on fleeting pleasures is a life devoid of happiness. Material possessions offer short bursts of happiness. You get enduring pleasures from gradual growth of your mind. Fleeting pleasures can be compared to sugar high. It is a quick burst of pleasure with no lasting positive effect. Enduring pleasures sustain through life. Seek pleasures filled with experiences and resist material possessions for your source of happiness.

9. Changing through revolution instead of evolution.

Small changes are more doable. If you want to make a difference in the world, do it by one small step at a time. Setting huge goals without manageable steps to get there create unnecessary stress in your life. Setting huge goals without realistic milestones will always disappoint.

Even if you set a goal as huge as losing a 100 pounds, you will only get there by losing one pound at a time. Focus on losing the next pound, then the next, so on and so forth, and you will get there. If you focus on 100 pounds every day of your journey, you will be frustrated and disappointed. You will quit before you could succeed. Allow yourself to change through evolution. Avoid revolutionary changes. Revolutions are always messy. Leave them for your history books.

10.  Excessive emphasis on appearance.

Enjoying the way a person or a thing looks is fine. Infatuation simply based on looks is depriving yourself of the best things in life. What if you only enjoyed foods based on their colors instead of their ingredients? Demand more than looks to decide what is desirable to you.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.