Today I’m talking toxic habits. We’ve all have things that we do that we know aren’t good for us… but we keep on doing them all the same. It’s time to stop. Here’s why you should quit those toxic habits right now…
Mindless scrolling on your phone
Honestly, I feel like I lost about 10 years of my life doing this. Lying on the couch, being a bit bored, and just mindlessly scrolling on my phone for hours. I had a bunch of crappy websites bookmarked on my phone, as well as the usual Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and I would just go on them and just scroll. Looking back, it all feels like such a big fat waste of time. I don’t do it half so much anymore. Ever since I started my blog I feel like I’ve got something that I’m really passionate about, and so instead of scrolling through garbage the internet I can focus my energy on something that actually matters to me.
I think everyone gets to a point where you realise that there’s no point having toxic people in your life – whether that’s a supposed friend, a colleague, or just those people you somehow feel obligated to hang out with… even though you always come away from every interaction with them feeling rubbish about yourself. Just don’t do it! It also doesn’t have to be people that you know in real life, it can be on social media too. It sounds silly, but if certain people’s Instagram feeds leave you feeling negative about yourself then just do the right thing and unfollow them. I’ve done that with countless celebrities and I can’t tell you how good it is not to get that jolt of inadequacy every time you go for a quick scroll.
Bad money habits
It’s easy to be bad with money because, let’s face it, there are a whole lot of fun things to spend money on, such as clothes, meals out, holidays, more clothes, and so one. The one rule that I’ve always stuck to is to never buy stuff that I can’t afford. I always pay for everything up front and I don’t put anything on credit, whether that’s holidays, furniture, clothes, or whatever. If I want something I put money away for it each month and THEN I buy it. Of course I have had to use my credit card on occasion, but I very much have it marked as for emergency use only. It’s not always easy, but it pays to be sensible.
Eating bad food
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about eating ALL the junk food snacks at the weekend. I also order a Chinese takeaway on a Friday night far too regularly. What I am saying is that good, nutritious food makes you feel good. When you’re nourished and energised you can power through your day without feeling like you want to fall asleep at your (virtual) desk or gnaw your own arm off. I make sure that I eat three balanced meals a day with a mix of protein, carbs, fats, and fruit and veg each day – you’re not going to see me cutting out food groups any time soon. It’s all about the carbs for me.
Caring what people think
I actually started an incarnation of this blog about two years ago and one of the first posts I wrote was titled, ‘If I wasn’t afraid.’ In it I wrote down all the things I would do if I wasn’t afraid, and starting a blog was one of them. I sounds crazy now, because now that I’ve started blogging I absolutely love it. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t spent so long caring what people think because in reality, no one really gives a jot. I still don’t link my blog to any of my personal social media accounts, but the vague thought that someone I know might see my blog and scoff just doesn’t hold them same weight anyone. In the very wise words of Dr Seuss: those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Or care.
Not getting enough sleep
Sorry to sound like your mum right now, but getting a good night’s sleep is super important. Whenever I don’t sleep well I’m wiped out the next day; I can’t concentrate, I’m grumpy, and I can’t give anything I’m working on the time and attention it deserves. I’d never have the motivation or the drive to do anything if I felt like that all the time. While there always seems to be someone who claims to be able to function on 6 hours sleep every night I’m a fan of getting a solid eight hours sleep every night. And I might sound like a granny but I always go to bed before 11pm each night – and I feel great for it.
Not using your spare time effectively
I think I spent way too long partying in my twenties. I would go out on a Saturday night, usually in Edinburgh, drink with my friends and then get the last train home. I’d then spend all of Sunday in my pyjamas, feeling hungover and usually a bit shit about myself – hangovers tend to do that, right? The worst part was that wouldn’t actually do anything apart from blob on the sofa all day. Don’t get me wrong, that’s absolutely fine every once in a while, but I feel like I wasted A LOT of time. My Sundays look a lot different now; I still leave plenty of time for lounging around but I also catch up on freelance work, I plug away on my blog, and I prepare for the week ahead using my favourite Sunday routine.
Not starting a sidehustle earlier
I worked a regular 9-5 all throughout my twenties I only got my first freelance job through a fluke. Basically, I went for a job, the salary turned out not to be quite right for me, but they asked if I’d like to do some freelance work for them. I practically bit their hand off. If that hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t be freelancing now. If I could have my time again I would seize more opportunities to develop my freelance portfolio as I love the idea of creating diverse income streams for myself. I’m currently furloughed so it’s great to still have my freelance income coming in even more so than ever.
Staying in a job you hate
Lots of us are going to find ourselves in jobs that we don’t like throughout our lifetime, but my advice is this: if your job is making your unhappy then do everything you can to leave. You’re there eight hours a day and that’s just way too much time to be miserable. I worked at a company for 10 years before I quit and in a lot of ways I wish I’d left a lot earlier. It wasn’t all bad, and in fact there were lots of things I loved about it at first, but I just fell out of love with it over time. I was also always so drained by the time I got home that it meant I didn’t have any energy to work on other creative pursuits. I regret that imbalance. If something doesn’t bring you joy, take Marie Kondo’s advice and get rid.
Comparing yourself to others
This is such a tough habit to break and there are always moments when I’m feeling a bit low that I’ll catch myself comparing where I am in life to other people. What I’ve learned, however, is that there’s always going to be someone doing better than you. And even if it looks like someone is breezing through life without breaking a sweat that might not actually be the case – it might just be the filtered version that they’re choosing to share. Your competition shouldn’t be with them anyway – it should be with yourself. Are you fulfilling your potential? Are you doing everything you can to get to where you want to be? If you’re not – what else can you do? Turn the focus back on you and what YOU want.