Who knows where we pick up bad habits? They rarely seem like good ideas the first time we do them. Often, it’s just the path of least resistance; something we did once because it seemed easier than not doing it and, the next thing you know, it’s part of our day-to-day routine.
But it doesn’t have to be.
This isn’t about shaming anyone or holding up a measuring stick to see where the shortcomings are. Instead, it’s a reminder that life is simply too short to weigh it down with unnecessary clutter. And while some of these habits are easier to break than others, all of them get in the way of the wild, radical lives we were created to live out.
1. Comparing Yourself to Others
Social media has made this an easy habit to cultivate, but sitting around wishing you were traveling Europe with your old college roommate or that your job was as cool as that guy’s from church is a recipe for misery. Kick the habit of wishing your life was more exciting and go out and live it instead.
2. Putting Off That Project You Keep Meaning to Start
Whether it’s a novel, a painting, a new porch or even meeting the neighbors, you’ll feel much better once you just get going on it. Schedule it in if you have to. Set aside a day, an afternoon, even half an hour, and just start.
3. Wasting Food
About 40 percent of all food in the U.S. gets thrown out instead of eaten. A lot of us are contributing to that waste just out of habit of buying more food than we need or simply not using everything that’s sitting in our fridges.
4. Waiting for the ‘Next Big Thing’
Life won’t begin when you get married, get your dream job, move to a new city, finally take that trip around the world or anything else. Life is made in the big events and the small moments.
5. Being Critical Without Being Productive
There’s nothing wrong with pointing out things that need change, but it can become a bad habit if you don’t also work to help make the changes happen.
6. Getting Into Un-Winnable Arguments on Social Media
Let’s face it: No matter how many great points are made, arguing in the comments section doesn’t change anyone’s mind.
7. Saying You’ll ‘Read More’ When You Have Time
Unfortunately, you’re never going to magically have more time. You’ll have to make a habit of making more.
8. Saying You’ll ‘Pray More’ When You Have Time
This is another one where discipline is the real trick. Making time in your schedule is difficult, but the results will change your life.
9. Sleeping Till Noon on Saturday
Weekends are precious, and they’re best enjoyed when you’re well-rested, not oversleeping.
10. Living Paycheck to Paycheck
The reality is, you won’t always be able to put money away. But whenever possible, saving money—even just a little, here and there—is a habit your future self will thank you for.
11. Talking Down to Yourself
You’re not a failure, you’re not dumb and you’re good at what you do. Don’t just kick the habit of thinking badly about yourself, work to replace the negatives with positives.
12. Watching More Than an Hour of TV Per Day
In the age of Netflix, with a lot of great television out there, it’s easy (and fun) to binge once in a while. But if this becomes a regular activity, it’s time to find a new hobby.
13. Making Your Phone the Last Thing You See Before You Go to Sleep …
A 2008 study found that people who sleep with their phone close by take longer to fall asleep and spend less time in the deep stages of sleep.
14. …Or When You Wake Up
Siri doesn’t have to set the tone for your day.
15. Worrying About Things That Are Outside of Your Control
Worry can easily consume your life, but it can be controlled. Start by surrendering the things that no amount of worry can change.
16. Checking Twitter at Every Available Moment
There’s a better use for those little pauses (in line at the grocery store, at a red light, etc.) than checking status updates. Pray, think of ways to help make someone else’s day or maybe even just be still for a second.
17. Skipping Breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day, and it also provides you with a little time to take stock of your emotional and spiritual life before the day gets away from you.
18. Impulse Shopping
Add a little patience to your spending habits and make sure you’re buying things that add actual value to your life.
19. Keeping Tabs on Exes via Facebook
Past relationships should generally be just that: in the past. Keeping tabs on former flames can be invite a lot more trouble than it’s worth.
20. Beating Yourself Up If You Don’t Get Over Every Single Habit
These are all things worth working on, but none of them are worth kicking yourself over. God isn’t going to run out of grace for you, and you don’t have to run out of grace for yourself.