Harmful Habits that are Seriously Holding You Back

There isn’t a person on this planet who has completely perfect habits. As people, we are imperfect. We get distracted, we procrastinate, we make mistakes and sometimes we hold onto harmful habits simply because they have been a part of our lives for so long. There are many harmful habits that can hold us back professionally and of course, in our personal lives.

Taking inventory of my own harmful habits, a trend emerged. First, I knew I wasn’t alone and that many people also struggle with letting go of their own harmful habits. By being able to identify which of our habits are harmful, we can finally make a change for the better.

Are you ready to shine a spotlight on your harmful habits and make that change? First, you need to know which habits are the most harmful and are seriously holding you back.

Always Saying “Yes”

Too many people stretch themselves too thin. Saying “yes” to nearly every request in your life is one thing that could be seriously holding you back.

We don’t always have time to go to every event that we’re invited to and we can’t keep taking on extra work just to help others. These types of things hold us back from our own goals.

Sure, there are times that we should say yes. We should always say “yes” to new opportunities that will provide future benefits. We should also say “yes” to spending time with those we love when it’s within reason. But, when it comes down to it, we shouldn’t always say “yes”, especially when we are stretching ourselves too thin. Sometimes it’s better to focus on #1.

Constantly Seeking Approval

On some level, we all require validation. However, that validation doesn’t have to come from others. It can come from you.

Those who are constantly seeking approval from others neglect one seriously important thing: validation from themselves. At the end of every day, you are the only person who has to live with yourself and the choices you’ve made.

Another thing, that I used to personally do all the time, was to seek approval from the wrong people. When we do need that validation, we need to make sure that we are seeking it from the right sources, (if we truly need it at all).

Blaming Everyone Else, But Never Yourself

The world doesn’t owe you shit. You’re lucky to be here at all. There is an entire culture of entitlement that has grown over the last couple of years. Nobody has to help you and you are the only one responsible for yourself. Need something? Find a way to get it yourself.

Blaming others for mistakes that you made is going to get absolutely nowhere. If the same things tend to keep happening to you, odds are the blame is solely on YOU. Personal accountability is something that will propel you forward. Blaming others is only holding you back.

Not Taking Proper Care of Yourself

If we aren’t taking of ourselves, we can’t be at our most productive. This holds us back tremendously. Self-care is one of the most important aspects of life but yet it’s ignored by so many.

Take care of yourself. Take breaks when you need to. Go to the spa. Exercise. Eat healthier. Whatever you do – take care of YOU. You cannot offer a drink from your glass to somebody else while you’re thirsty.

Talking, Not Doing

Don’t talk about it. Be about it.

Inaction is costing you more than you know. While it is healthy and perfectly cool to talk about what are going to do, we also have to actually follow through.

Negative Self-Talk

Constantly putting yourself down is going to accomplish nothing other than lowering your own self-esteem.

Try your best to replace those negative things you say to yourself with positive things. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this”, say, “HOW am I going to do this?”

Being Financially Irresponsible

Impulse purchasing, the lack of a budget, and other financially irresponsible actions can seriously hold you back from hitting those longterm financial goals.

Quick Tips on Being Financially Responsible: 

  • Have a Savings Account
  • Create a Budget and STICK TO IT
  • Hold off Making big Purchases until you research all your options
  • Stop Impulse Purchasing (Especially clothes you’re never going to wear)
  • Create a Savings Plan
  • Don’t Borrow Money with a Solid Plan to Pay it Back
  • Don’t Lend money unless it’s to somebody who WILL pay it back (and you know this FOR SURE)

Not Having Clear Goals

Not knowing where you want to go and how you want to get there can hold you back from ever going anywhere at all. You need to have clear set goals and a means to achieve them.

Being a Prisoner to Your Phone

Have you ever hung out with somebody who rarely ever looks up from their phone? Maybe you notice the same 5-6 people who live on Facebook. Constantly being glued to your phone simply stops you from getting things done in the real world.

Try your best to limit your phone time, specifically social media.

Being Petty

We all need to learn to let things go. There are people out there who are downright assholes and sure, that can bother us. However, there’s no need to dwell or to be petty. This is an energy-waster and it’s holding you back.

Waiting for “X”

Look, there’s never going to be a perfect time to start anything. We often wish there was but there really isn’t. Waiting around for that perfect time is going to leave you stagnant for a very long time. Don’t wait! Just start ASAP.

Refusing to Keep Learning

Nobody knows it all, it’s true. But, we should always strive to keep learning. Things change all the time and there are virtually endless useful skills and knowledge out there. By refusing to keep learning, you are just treading water instead of moving forward.

Always seek to learn.

Ignoring the Good Stuff

Mindset is everything and that’s no joke. If you are negative all the time, your life is going to be negative and who the hell wants that?

Too often we take for granted the good things in our lives. I think it was best said in Zombieland – “Enjoy the little things.” 

Practicing gratitude, or “gratitude journaling” can help us identify those good things and really acknowledge how important they are. Consider it, especially if you find yourself focusing too much on the negative.

Allowing Toxic People to Take up Your Time

I say this so much, it almost comes out robotic. Either way, allowing toxic people to take up your time is holding you back. Your time is better spent elsewhere.

Quick Examples of “Toxic” People: 

  • People who only talk about themselves and never inquire about you and your life.
  • People who always want something.
  • Negative people
  • Those who are constantly complaining but yet never actually do anything regarding the things they rant over.
  • Argumentative people (The ones who will literally start an argument about anything and everything.)

Not Being Prepared

There are a lot of things in life that we can’t necessarily “prepare” for. On the other hand, there are a lot of things we can be prepared for. Anything that has to do with your professional life, should be something that is always prepared for. Whether it be having the right tools, dressing correctly, or knowing the answers to commonly asked questions – we should always be prepared.

If something is coming up, personally or professionally, you should always make sure that you’re taking the time to be prepared for it!

The “Snooze” Button

Ah, my old nemesis; the snooze button. We can’t get things done while we’re sleeping so that snooze button can hold you back from precious hours you could be spending being productive.

A tip that worked for me regarding this nemesis: Set your alarm a half-hour earlier every day until you get to a time you’re happy with. 

Making Assumptions Without a Legitimate Reason

Do you know what they say about assumptions? They really do make an “ASS” out the one making assumptions without reason.

Assuming that somebody doesn’t like you without any reason is holding you back. Assuming you CAN’T do something without even trying holds you back.

Seriously, unless you have a legitimate, concrete reason to make an assumption, it’s better to leave them at the door. You never know until you KNOW for sure. Always be certain being assuming.

Living in a Negative Mindset

And finally, the most important thing. A negative mindset is always going to hold you back, in every way that matters. Living in a constant state of negativity gets you nowhere and likely makes everyone around you want to get the hell away. The biggest change I’ve ever made in my life was deciding to stop living in a negative mindset.

Avoid the negative and chase the positive in every possible way you can.

Instead of THIS, Say THAT: 

  • I’ll never get “x” Done < How can I get “x” Done?
  • “x” Sucks < How can I make “x” Better?
  • If only I had “x”, I could get it done < What can I use for “x”?
  • The world is against me < I need to find ways to make my day to day life better.

When it comes down to the harsh reality, YOU are the only thing holding YOU back.

All these habits can absolutely be changed but it all starts with mindset. Stop blaming the world, society, or circumstance and make changes to get where you want to be. Put all these things holding you back behind you and replace them with positive habits that push you closer to your goals.

Let me know what’s holding you back in the comments! Have you overcome something that’s been holding you back? What were your methods?

Much Love,



Krissy October is a professional freelance writer, aspiring novelist and knowledge nerd who is dedicated to consistent self-improvement and finding clever ways to solve everyday problems.


  1. Spot on! These are definitely bad, bad habits that keep you from moving forward and living your best life! Totally guilty about always saying yes and seeking validation, but I’m working hard to change that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ah…the snooze button. I really need to kick that habit! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  3. hey you,loved this post! thanks! great read…

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