17 Toxic Habits that are Holding You Back from True Happiness

We all want to be happy…

Sure, this sounds like an obvious statement… but if you just looked at the statistics, it wouldn’t be obvious at all.

According to the Harris Poll, only one-third of the American population considers themselves to be “Very Happy”.

And according to the NHS, more than 16 million American adults have suffered from a major depressive episode in recent years.

So what the hell is going on?

If we all want to be happy, why is it that so few of us actually are happy?

I believe that this problem can be traced back to one errant assumption.

As a society, we assume that happiness comes from adding something to our lives like a new house, a faster car, nicer clothes, or more money in the bank account.

We spend our days on an endless hamster wheel, trying to add more and more “stuff” into our life until eventually we feel happy.

Only… This approach never works.

People work in the rat race for years, devoting their entire lives to a faulty pursuit of happiness that cannot (and does not) result in true fulfillment.

As Bruce Lee famously said:

It is not the daily increase but the daily decrease. Hack away the inessential

And this is where most American’s, myself included get it wrong.

Because happiness, true and deep happiness doesn’t come from adding more stuff into our lives.

It comes from removing the habits and parts of our lives that are making us unhappy.

And after years of refining my own habits and  routines and analyzing my life under a microscope, I have found 17 toxic habits that must be removed if you want to achieve real happiness.

I promise you that if you are diligent and slowly but surely eradicate these 17 things from your life, your happiness, levels of success, and life will change in ways that can’t even begin to imagine.

Let’s get started.

1. Not Loving and Focusing on Yourself First

“If you want to change the world, start with yourself.” ~Gandhi

There’s a reason they tell you to put on your oxygen mask if the plane is going down before putting it on someone else.

It might sound cold and it might seem mean, but if you’re in the middle of a plane crash and pass out from oxygen deprivation, how can you expect to help your girlfriend, child, or friend?

You can’t.

This is true in the air and it’s true in your everyday life.

If you aren’t taking care of #1 you can’t take care of anyone else and allowing others to dictate your life is ruining your happiness.

When you consistently take care of other people before you take care of yourself, you will run yourself into the ground, burn out, and eventually… Break down.

You can’t be happy if you aren’t taking the time to care for yourself and if you aren’t happy, then you will struggle to make others happy.

So get started today.

Buy yourself a massage, take a bath, just chill out and listen to your favorite music.

Do something… But do it for yourself.

I promise when you are done, you will be far more charged and able to handle the problems of the people you love.

2. Working so Hard on Your Career or Business that You Don’t Take Time for Yourself or the People that you Love

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Work will never slow down and there will never be a good time to ease up on the throttle.

Working to excess is draining your happiness more than you realize.

Sometimes you might need to put 60 or 70 hour weeks to get to where you want to be early in your career.

But don’t make these long hours and unbalanced lifestyle a habit as you will inevitably burn out.

Few people make it to their deathbeds and say “God, I wish I worked more”.

In fact, spending too much time in the office is one of the seven deepest regrets that men face at the end of their lives.

Life is all about balance, strive to find time for work, your family, friends, and yourself.

Not only does working to much suck it often times can lead to a lack of exercise, too much fast food, and the dreaded dad bod.

Find the balance you need to achieve both health and wealth in your life.

3. Not Working Hard Enough and Suffering the Pain of Regret

“You can’t hire someone else to do the pushups for you” ~Jim Rohn

Chronically under-performing in life is just as dangerous for your health and happiness as being a workaholic.

You need work to bring purpose and meaning to your life. Without a vision or goals, you will never do as much as you need to do.

Quit believing the lies on social media of “working 20 hours” and living a passive income lifestyle.

Put in the work to get the life you want to create. Get up early, do the extra 20 pushups, run the extra mile, and earn the promotion at work.

4. Saying “Yes” When You Want to Say “No”

“Success depends on getting good at saying no without feeling guilty. You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects and agendas.” – Jack Canfield

Learn to say “No” when you don’t want to do something.

Sure, “Yes Man” was a great movie but it was a movie, not real life.

You can’t say “Yes” to everything and expect to have enough time to accomplish everything in your life.

You don’t have to listen to your friend bitch about his marital problems for 4 hours. There’s a difference between being present and compassionate for someone you love and allowing people to walk all over you.

Highly successful people constantly say no to unrealistic deadlines, projects, and meetings that don’t align with their goals.

5. Listening to Your Family’s Advice on All of Your Major Life Decisions

Your family always wants what’s best for you, I get it.

But don’t feel that you need to listen to them all the time about every aspect of your life.

Times are different than before, they might not know exactly what you want in life. Only you know what you’re looking for.

Be sure to hear them out, weigh their opinion but ultimately you need to make your own decisions for your life.

Someone once told me, “Only take advice from someone you would switch places with.”

Your family always thinks they are looking out for you but trust in yourself and your vision to know when to listen and when to make your own path.

6. Sacrificing Your Health to Achieve Wealth

Few things will make you happier and feel more energetic than following the right training program and eating the right diet.

Conversely, few things will make you unhappier (and more unsuccessful) than laziness and apathy towards your health.

If you want to be happy and successful then exercise and the right nutrition are non-negotiables.

The easiest way to make exercise a habit you commit to is by scheduling it out the night before and including as part of your morning routine. Whether you swim, run, play ball or lift weights, make it one of your first priorities for the day.

Prepare the night before by laying out your clothes and gear so you can literally roll out of bed and into your running shoes.

Switch up your diet to include intermittent fasting or a keto diet to also increase your mental and physical performance.

When you are prioritizing your health you will have more confidence, mental performance, and energy.

7. Responding to Other People Instantly Instead of Staying Focused on YOUR Priorities

When you respond quickly it shows that you don’t prioritize your time and makes you more stressed than you need to be.

The next time an email comes in and you want to reply…wait on it.

The girl you asked out finally text you back? Hold back the urge to respond instantly — always keep them wanting more.

You need to show coworkers and other people in your life that you have a schedule and are disciplined in sticking to it.

8. Chronically Under Sleeping

“You have 24 hour hours in a day, you sleep six of them. Now you have 18 hours left.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

The terminator says, “Just sleep faster.”

And while this sentiment has been widely promoted by the “Sleepless Elite” of our world who claim that you only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

The science begs to differ.

People who get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night report increased levels of happiness and satisfaction and people who chronically sleep less than six hours a night have been shown to be less effective at work, less satisfied with their overall quality of life, and yes… Less happy.


I’m not suggesting that you start sleeping 9 hours a night, but taking your sleep seriously and getting at least 7.5 hours a night can drastically improve your happiness and your overall performance.

9. Indulging in Negative Vices (Cigarettes, Drugs, Alcohol etc.)

“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.” ~Rob Gilbert

Health equals wealth.

What’s the point of earning, saving, and investing for your future if you’re not around to enjoy it?

I’m not your sponsor, but you know if you have poor health habits then you are damaging your happiness and success.

Don’t get me wrong, in college I would wake up hungover and reek of cigarettes on more occasions than I care to remember.

Sure it was harmless then, but when does it stop?

There has to come a time where you realize some of your habits aren’t helping your body, career, or productivity.

Whether you eliminate these vices cold turkey or slowly replace them with positive habits, you must eliminate them if you want to be your happiest and most successful self.

10. Allowing Negative Things, Ideas, or People in Your Life because You are “Supposed To”

The world has never had more negativity than today thanks to social media and internet trolls.

Do you ever notice that the negative people are always the loudest?

Motivational speaker Les Brown said it best, “You need to get the losers out of your life.”

Negative People

If you are surrounded by negative people who don’t believe in you or your goals, good luck trying to accomplish anything.

Spend time with people who make you smarter, happier, or ambitious.

You become your social orbit — make sure the people you spend a majority of your time with are goal oriented, uplifting, and positive.

I won’t lie, you will most likely have to stop hanging out with an old friend or certain coworkers. It’s not easy but you need to do it for your long-term growth.

Negative Thoughts

As damaging as negative people are, your negative thoughts are a close second.

Are you constantly telling yourself that you’re an alpha male who can accomplish anything or are you having negative inner talk?

You need to eliminate negative self-talk and limiting beliefs to give yourself the best chances of success.

Stop saying, “I am slow, I am fat, I am pathetic.” Even if you are joking, your mind doesn’t recognize sarcasm.

Build yourself up with positive “I am affirmations” to boost your confidence and self-esteem.

11. Listening to the Limiting Beliefs in Your Head that Say “I’m Not Enough”

I walked on fire this year, and guess what? I didn’t get burnt.

After doing the firewalk exercise at a Tony Robbins event I realized how limiting beliefs used to hold me back.

Most things you think aren’t possible is a false ceiling you created yourself thanks to a past experience. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.

Don’t let limiting beliefs hold you back from ultimate success in life and end up with regret.

As Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Being 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and having regrets that you didn’t swing the bat is the worst regret of them all.”

Get rid of your limiting beliefs….you are capable of achieving anything you want in life.

Believe in yourself and fail your way to success to you don’t end up with any regrets later in life.

12. Living in the Past and Letting it Control Your Future

We’re all guilty of looking back at our past mistakes.

The job we didn’t take, the move we didn’t make, the girlfriend we lost.

Stop this habit now — you can’t move forward when you are still looking back in your rear view.

As Tony Robbins says, “Your past doesn’t equal your future.”

Every person on the planet has made a ton of mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and move on quickly.

Focus on what you want by setting up a goal framework that motivates you and keeps you busy.

Work so hard towards to create a better future that you don’t have time to look backward.

Nothing is changing in the past, always be looking forward.

Insert Quote: “Make the rest of your life the best of your life.” – Eric Thomas

13. Comparing Yourself to Others and Basing Your Worth on Other People’s Experiences

We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others thanks to social media.

Guess what? Not everyone is living as lavish of life on social media as you probably think.

Social media does a great job portraying the highlight reel of people’s lives — rarely is it their day to day routine.

Don’t compare yourself to your friends or even worse, strangers or celebrities online.

Everyone starts in a different background in life, has different careers, income, debt, goals, and dreams.

Only compare yourself to your previous version of yourself as it’s the only valid comparison.

As Tony Robbins says, “Progress equals happiness.”

As long as you are moving forward, improving your life, and getting closer to your goals be happy with yourself.

14. Staying in Your Comfort Zone

It is so easy to get into a comfortable routine at your job, relationship, or fitness routine.

Guess what? If you’re not growing you’re dying…you can only coast one way, downhill.

A great lesson learned from badass Navy Seal David Goggins says, “You need comfortable being unfucking comfortable.”

Whether it’s running an extra mile, lifting heavier weights, talking to a new girl, or leaving a job you hate.

Run like hell from your comfort zone, it is slowly ruining your life.

Insert Quote: “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John C. Maxwell

15. Watching too Much TV Instead of Living in the Real World

The average American is watching more than four hours of TV a day!

While I love a Netflix binge as much as anyone, making this a nightly habit will crush your productivity, hustle and potentially your sex life.

Think of your TV as an income reduction box. The more you watch the more likely you won’t be setting goals, reading new books, or meeting new people.

I’m not asking you to stop watching Game of Thrones, just stop watching trash TV or watching two hours a night. If you find yourself watching shitty TV get to the gym or pick up a book.

16. Using Social Media for More Than a Few Minutes a Day

Don’t be a lurker on social media — your ex probably already moved on already, get over it.

Quit getting into a political debate with trolls online, nothing good is coming for this.

If you waste too much time on social media and everyone else’s life you will never focus on your own growth and goals.

When you spend too much time on social media you will also fall into the previous habit of comparison. Don’t get into the debate of who is living a better life, taking cooler vacations, or posting better pictures online.

Obviously, you probably won’t just avoid social all the time but an occasional social media fast does your mind good. If you still need to check make sure you do it sporadically like the morning after you already meditated, worked out, and responded to emails.

I’ve reduced my time spent on social media drastically this year and haven’t missed a thing.

17. Procrastinating on Important Things Instead of Getting Sh*t Done on Time

I use to be the king of procrastination.

7 am final exam? Pull an all-nighter. Deadline for a project at work? Get up really early, pound 2 energy drinks and finish it.

Stop procrastinating.

The best way to eliminate this behavior is to figure out what is the hardest task of your day. It could be a client you have avoided, an email you don’t want to send, or a project you don’t want to start.

Do it…now!

Once you complete the hardest task to start your day you will feel a sense of relief. You will also create momentum to crush the rest of the day.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are doing one or all seventeen of these toxic habits know that you can change with consistency and focus.

If you’re doing a majority of them and it seems overwhelming start small.

Find the top three toxic habits and create a plan to eliminate and replace them with good habits.

If you feel like smoking go for a run.

If you feel like watching TV keep a book close to the remote.

Make it easy to drop these habits. If you have a bad day or go back to one of your habits don’t worry about — you’re human.

Remember habits take time to implement in your life.

Once you’ve identified them and are working on correcting you are on the right path.

Create a life based on great habits to be a strong, grounded, confident, and successful man.

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