2 AM finds you in bed, on your phone. It’s a senseless succession of mind-numbing cat videos, memes, and vlogs. Finger gymnastics. It’s the hour of the heartbroken, the inability to fall asleep after a day of breaking your heart over and over again.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of developing some awful habits that ensured unhappiness, poverty, and sickness.
I just didn’t know any better.
Once I knew better, I did better. I took better care of my mind, my body, and my emotional well-being.
And I’ve discovered this neat trick: happiness is mostly about eliminating the daily habits that break your heart; letting go of certain patterns of action and beliefs that are making us miserable.
Here are seven daily habits that sabotage your happiness and how to get rid of them once and for all.
1. You Listen to the Inner Critic
Everybody has self-talk — our inner narrator who not only constantly describes the story of our life as it unfolds, but also interprets everything as it happens.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t work on developing the self-awareness required to take care of this inner dialogue’s tone.
The irony of this is that we’d never have the courage to talk to others the way we talk to ourselves, yet we often listen to the most negative of thoughts and take them at face value.
The reason we all have such harsh, negative self-talk is that we often allow someone else’s negative opinion of us to become our reality. We often break apart under the influence of suggestions that are all but helpful, and we adopt this inner voice to guide us on a daily basis.
I used to listen to what now like to call the voice of doom: it was the type of inner monologue that was making me feel depressed, anxious, and hopeless, all at the same time.
The trick, I’ve found, is to work on changing your inner set of beliefs, one by one. It’s a slow and painful process, as we try to recognize the negative self-talk that breaks our hearts on a daily basis, and then replace it with something empowering.
The rule is simple: if it does not inspire and motivate you, the inner critic must shut up.
2. You Take the Path of Least Resistance
Those whose hearts get broken on a daily basis usually avoid the type of conflict that nurtures the soul.
They wish for comfort.
The price for that?
A lifetime of discomfort, pain, and anxiety.
The truth is that we must choose to do what is hard, what is painful, to be proactive in choosing the battles we want to fight.
The more I tried to deny myself the pleasure of struggling for what I wanted, the more I struggled.
It’s as simple as that.
Do the hard thing. Fall in love with the idea of working hard, of sacrificing for your passions.
You will develop the kind of emotional immunity that makes you feel like you have superpowers.
The path of most resistance is the only way to reach supreme self-confidence.
3. You Try to Move Mountains Rather Than Climb Them
I used to complain about everything that I couldn’t control: the economy, the politics, my favorite sports teams…
I used to daydream about changing the world around me, and I wanted to change everything around me.
I was trying to move mountains, when in fact all I had to do was climb them.
The heartbroken grow bitter and remorseful because they want to change the system. They want to change the rules of the universe, without realizing that all they have to do is learn to play the game and try to play it better than everyone else.
The mountains you are carrying? You were only supposed to climb.
4. You Avoid Doing the Work That Has to Be Done
Fun fact: I am writing this post after five hours of sleep, four hundred or so miles of traveling through the intense heat of the summer. After I am done writing this post, I have to shoot a new YouTube video, record a podcast, and then work on writing a new blog post.
I do not want to do all of this, but I have to.
I promised myself to deliver content, and that’s what I am doing.
The heartbroken are locked in a series of endless debates about whether or not they should do what they have to do. Procrastination is a gateway drug for a lot of pain and suffering in life.
You become lazy, complacent, reactive. Daily debates about whether or not to do certain tasks often create anxiety. It’s a lot of wasted mental effort.
The heartbroken spend too much time thinking and not enough time doing.
The solution is simple: just do it.
Don’t think, just do it.
You know what has to be done, you know why it’s important, so just do it. If you hesitate for even one second, odds are that your brain will trick you into postponing this task until tomorrow… and that’s how you lose the game of life.
5. You Keep Your Eyes on the Stars but Not Your Feet on the Ground
Most long time goals, no matter how unrealistic they may seem, are but of series of small daily habits brought together under the weight of a certain vision.
I wrote daily for eight years in order to build an audience of almost two hundred thousand readers.
The heartbroken dream big, try to act big, but forget about the fact that little by little, a little becomes a lot.
The key here — you need to keep your feet on the ground. Do the mind-numbing, backbreaking daily work.
Greatness is often dressed in overalls.
It’s all a balancing act. Being realistic is often misinterpreted as cutting your own wings, but the truth is that being realistic also means knowing that you need to learn how to crawl before you can run.
6. You Want Too Much but Don’t Do Enough to Have It
The heartbroken vacation on Someday Isle. Daily.
They want to conquer the world, but they don’t even try to conquer themselves.
I know this because I used to break my heart on a daily basis wishing for fame, fortune, and glory, yet I was a world-class procrastinator.
I wasn’t willing to take massive actions in order to fulfill my most ambitious dreams and desires.
Once I came to the realization that I had to do as much as possible to make my dreams come true, I got a lot more done.
We basically play this mind game where we tell ourselves the story of our biggest ambitions over and over again, but we don’t take the required steps to turn our dreams into reality.
Dreaming big is easy. Anyone can do it. But if you don’t take massive action, you are just breaking your own heart.
You know the truth, you know that you’re not doing nearly enough to aim for the goals that you so arrogantly set for yourself.
People seem to be under this impression that success kind of happens, that it’s enough to just want it.
No, the world isn’t big enough for all this wishful thinking. The world demands of us that we do our best, over and over again. Otherwise, we end up with a bunch of daydreams and excuses as to why we’re not where we want to be.
Don’t make your life harder by imagining yourself into positions of fame and power if you’re not willing to do the work required of you to become such a person.
7. The Past if Your Place of Residence
Lastly, you break your heart on daily thinking about the past. That’s what you call your home.
You fantasize about a past that was far better than your present, that was perfect in ways that the future could never be.
You miss the things you had, the ones you never had, the people you loved, and the ones you never even had a chance to love.
The past is not a place of residence, but one of reference.
The moment I realized that, I was able to extrapolate the lessons I needed in order to move on and grow as a person.
The past is gone, and there’s nothing to be done about it. All that we can do is use our past as a framework for building a future that’s far better than even our most romantic visions of the past.
Stop Breaking Your Own Heart on a Daily Basis
If you want to achieve mastery in a certain field, or become supremely self-confident, or earn more than you are right now, you’ve got to give up on these seven daily habits.
Replace your inner critic with a narrator who empowers, motivates, and inspires you, force yourself to do the hard work, even when you don’t feel like it, don’t wish away your time, don’t daydream, and don’t set overly ambitious goals if you’re not willing to sacrifice your time and energy to achieve them.
Breaking your heart on a daily basis is easy. It requires almost no mental effort. That’s why it’s easy to daydream, to fantasize about the past, or to postpone important tasks.
The opposite is difficult, a never-ending battle, but one that ensures that you can honestly tell yourself that you are someone you’re proud of.