If you really want to become the best version of yourself, ditch these 10 habits

Wanting to be a better person is a pretty universal desire – that is, if you have even the tiniest bit of self-awareness. 

However, it’s one of those things that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? We all set out with the best intentions, aiming to be more patient, more productive, or just generally do better. 

I know I have. There have been too many New Years where I scribbled down my resolutions with a fierce determination that this year will be different. 

But fast forward just a month later, and I find myself lapsing into old behaviors without even realizing it. 

See, much of our behavior is a product of our habits. And if you don’t even know which habits are making your version 2.0 glitch, it can be hard to get there. 

Today, I’ll share 10 habits that can really get in the way of that. If you want to be the best version of yourself, it’s time to ditch them. 

1) Ignoring physical health

I’m pretty sure that everyone who makes New Year’s resolutions has something related to fitness in there. 

Lose 10 pounds. Walk 10,000 steps per day. Stop smoking.

So, the old adage “Health is wealth” is something we all know. Theoretically. 

But practically? Not so easy. 

I mean, I always start the week with the best intentions yet I’ve found myself still sitting for hours at my desk, 10,000 steps be damned. And when I do remember to get up, it’s likely to get a bag of chips from my pantry. 

Mindfulness is key here. Actually, it’s key for all of the items on this list. Because that’s what every self-improvement endeavor requires.  

Anyway, if you’re determined to be the best version of yourself, here are some reminders to help you be in tiptop shape enough to get there: 

  • Start small. You don’t need to walk 20 blocks right away, 5 or 10 might be more manageable. 
  • Make healthier food choices. 
  • Set realistic goals (see tip #1).
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Find an accountability partner to keep you on track and motivated.
  • Listen to your body. And follow what it says! 
  • Go for regular check-ups. Your body is a machine, and like any machine, it needs a regular once-over and maintenance.

2) Negative self-talk

Just like physical health, your mental health deserves to be a priority, too. 

And the best way to start taking care of it is to monitor the way you talk to yourself. We all have an inner voice, and I’m sure you know by now, it’s quite powerful. 

It can literally make or break you. Whichever one it is, is entirely up to you. 

Self-talk is how we process what happened and continues to happen to us. When we allow it to become too negative, it can make us believe the worst about ourselves. 

According to VeryWellMind, “Negative self-talk isn’t just stressful; it can also make it difficult to get motivated and achieve your goals.”

See how it can get in the way of being the best version of yourself

Again, mindfulness takes center stage here. Catch your inner critic in the act of talking down to you and tell it to piss off. 

Or, you could also just watch it and let it pass by, and understand that what it’s saying is just an opinion, not a fact. 

For me, what helped was to begin talking to myself like I would to a friend. I mean, if I talked to a friend the way I used to talk to myself, I wouldn’t have any left! So, I began applying the same gentleness I did with friends to myself. 

Because I now know that I deserve it. And so do you! 

3) Surrounding yourself with negative influences

While we’re on the topic of negativity, take a look at the people around you too. 

Are you surrounded by negative influences? I’m talking about people who are pessimists, cynics, complainers, or filled with envy and malice. 

We’ve all got one or two of them around us, right? And while it’s always good to give people grace, it’s also wise to keep some distance. 

Otherwise, we could absorb their energy and maybe even become like them. That’s definitely not the best version you could be. 

4) Poor financial management

Ever get stuck in the “I deserve this” mindset and splurge on expensive purchases too often? Or maybe you’re everyone’s ATM because you can’t bear to say no to people in need

That’s all well and good, but if you don’t have gazillions in your bank account, this habit can easily derail your plans for yourself. 

The repercussions of poor financial management are far-reaching. Sure, you might feel happy at the moment you’re spending, but it can eventually lead to a cycle of debt, stress, and limited choices in life. 

5) Overcommitting

Another habit that can lead to a cycle of stress and limited choices is an overpacked calendar. 

This used to be a struggle of mine. I’d say yes to people asking favors, never mind if it meant I’d lose my precious me-time. I’d take on tasks even if I was already overloaded. 

Some people do this because they’re scared to say no. Others do it due to FOMO

Whatever the reason, it’s time to ditch this habit. Time is not a limitless resource. So is energy. 

You need both of them to be able to be the best version of yourself. Otherwise, you’d be exhausted, burned out, and secretly resentful. 

One note though – to be able to stop overcommitting, you also need to be willing to stop…

6) People-pleasing

It’s natural to want to make the people around us happy. But at some point, we do have to ask, “At what cost?”

More often than not, the cost is your sense of self-worth. When your needs and values take a backseat one too many times, you begin internalizing the message that other people are worth more than you. 

Are they, though? I think you know the answer to that. 

When this idea finally got through to my head, I felt a sense of freedom. I no longer felt so duty-bound, so obligated to make people happy or to go along. 

I won’t say it’s easy to break free of this habit because it’s incredibly hard. Because the bottom line is – you have to be willing to be disliked. 

There will be pushback when people see this new version of you, this one that can say “no”. But it’s an investment you’re making, and it will pay off and give you lots of time and energy back. 

Which brings me to my next point…

7) Neglecting self-care

Everything I’ve discussed earlier falls under the larger umbrella of self-care. Most people think about it like it’s all about taking the time to go to the spa or treating yourself to a luxurious vacation. 

And sure, it could be, but for me, self-care is a daily habit. And it’s not even anything grand. It’s merely taking the time to rest and reflect. 

I need to do these so I can regularly assess if I’m on track or if I’m giving away too much of my resources to things that don’t deserve them. 

It’s a practice of staying true to myself and ensuring I’m not just settling in any aspect of my life, especially in relationships. 

If I had to describe it in just a few words, true self-care is an ongoing commitment to yourself and your happiness.

8) Procrastination

Why do we procrastinate when we already know it isn’t a healthy habit? Well, it could be any one of these, according to Solving Procrastination

  • Prioritization of short-term mood (e.g. “I want to feel happy right now)
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Perfectionism 
  • Low motivation
  • Abstract goals 
  • Underlying behaviors and conditions (e.g., rebellion against an authority figure, depression, etc)

It’s actually a longer list than this, but those are the most common reasons. 

In an interview with the American Psychological Association, psychology professor Fuschia Sirois further adds that procrastination could be a matter of emotion regulation. 

She says, “…we’re not avoiding the task per se, what we’re avoiding is the negative emotions associated with that task. And so procrastination becomes a way to cope with that negative mood and those negative emotions.”

So, as you can see, procrastination isn’t just a matter of being lazy. That’s why it’s such a hard habit to break. But break it you must if you want to be the best version of yourself.

9) Comparing yourself to others

Too fat. Too thin. Too dark. Too pale. Too poor. Too dumb. Way too much of a loser. 

These are just some of the comparisons we make when we measure ourselves against other people. 

Look, it’s natural to compare. I’d be lying if I said I’d never done this. It’s just human nature. 

Just don’t wallow in that pool too long and too deeply. Because when you think about it, it makes no sense. We’re all on different timelines, have different genetic traits, have different gifts and abilities. 

So I’d advise you to do this instead – when you look at other people, do it from a place of wanting to be inspired. 

That’s what will spur you on to be the best version of yourself instead of the endless measuring-self-castigating cycle we end up in.   

10) Avoiding feedback

Criticism isn’t something we feel welcoming towards. Again, that’s natural. No one likes to be told what they could improve and work on. 

But if you want to be the best version of yourself, better get comfortable with receiving feedback. In fact, I’d say, go the extra mile and look for a mentor. 

I have one, and I appreciate just how helpful she’s been in both my personal and professional growth. Without her objective feedback, I wouldn’t know which areas to work on. 

Truth is, even if personal growth is largely an inside job, it always helps to have a strong network of people who want to see you succeed as much as you do. 

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