5 Tiny Habits That Will Suck Your Joy Away

Somebody once told me the definition of insanity:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Anonymous


Be careful now.

Pay attention…

Did you catch it?

If you’re not wary, sometimes the habits that we have can actually be the very cause that makes us UNhappy and stymie us from that ever elusive goal of Happiness that we all desire.

Tony Robbins is famous for expounding the Freudian foundational theory on behavioral psychology:

Why do we do what we do?

We do things for 2 reasons:

  1. To avoid pain.
  2. To gain pleasure.

If you think about every decision you make, it is for one of these two reasons. Why don’t you go up and talk to that girl? Why did you eat that huge slice of chocolate cake? Why didn’t you go running like you promised yourself you would today?

Again and again, we see these truths come to light within our own lives.

As a result of these 2 powerful forces, there are small tiny habits you’ve been forming that may have been creeping up into your every day actions, vocabulary, and thoughts that may actually be leading you down the path of despair and despondency without you fully realizing it.

Doing these will slowly drain your life-force and literally suck away your joy if you’re not careful.

1. The Habit of Not Keeping Promises

(to yourself and others)

“Don’t try to fight tomorrow’s battles today.” — Anonymous

Many of us develop a habit of keeping promises to others, but unfortunately not to ourselves. Like a birthday “white lie,” we say we’ll do things that are better for our health, but our emotions get the better of us in the moment, and thus, we don’t end up doing what we wanted.

We slowly get used to it and our lose power & control over our own mind.

Your words should be your honor.

A good way to break this habit is to promise yourself a reward for accomplishing one of your goals. Retrain your brain in small steps.

2. The Habit of Snoozing Your Alarm

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” — Henry Ford

This is a mindless silent killer and some of us even operate our lives thinking it’s just how our body operates. Forget it.

What’s really happening is that you’re losing the first battle of the day and setting yourself up for a series of failures.

Achieve a small victory first thing in the morning.

Seize the morning, seize the day.

Even better, break this habit by making the bed.

3. The Habit of Looking at your Phone before Bed

“Early to bed, early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” ~Benjamin Franklin

iPhone users will be familiar with a new feature called “Night Shift” because too many users were staring at their phones before bed and would experience restless uncomfortable sleep.

In fact, if you Google “Blue Light Blocking Glasses” you’ll see that it’s becoming more well-known on how the many screens, even our TVs and Kindles can be signaling to our brains to stay awake.

Our life will be what our thoughts make it.

Have you been experiencing some insomnia lately? Your phone might be part of the reason. Cut it out at least 60 minutes before bed and develop an evening routine. You’ll fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed!

4. The Habit of Shoulda Coulda Woulda

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton

We all know someone in our families that is notorious for this. The way we phrase things to ourselves can impact our entire paradigm.

“I should have done this…” implies that something failed to go the way you wanted it to go and thus you beat yourself up.

“I could have done this…” implies that there was a missed opportunity which is usually followed by sadness for your present more miserable situation.

“I would have done this…” implies that you lacked some knowledge and things would have turned out better if only you had known.

Regardless, they all indicate a better possible future instead of seeing the beautiful and good in the current moment.

Treat them like cuss words. Remove from your vocabulary.

Make a small shift by stopping today. You can say instead, “Next time I will..

5. The Habit of Saying Yes Too Much

“Life is long if you know how to use it.” — Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

In today’s culture, we seem to have a major case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) happening. It’s an epidemic. You see all your friends on Facebook and Instagram having the time of their lives while you are sitting at home on the couch watching Netflix.

So we end up in an endless cycle of saying “Yes!” to everything even when we know we shouldn’t. Invites from friends to go out for drinks, or a weekend getaway, or a last-minute birthday party, steal our precious time.

Change your meaning. Change your future.

Make sure you prioritize things that make YOU happy, your dreams and goals. Do things that will rejuvenate your well-being.

Call To Action

We’re all guilty of doing these things. Now that you’re aware of them, it’s time for you to decide whether you want to let them become major habits.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Will Durant

Try to catch yourself doing any of these habits over the next few days, and see how often they come up. You might be surprised!

Written by

Disney Imagineer. Startup enthusiast. Sci-Fi/Self-Help novelist on a mission to build a Positopian world. Follow me @JonathanGChew or go to: www.chewsjoy.com

Sign up for Better Humans

By Better Humans

Tips, advice, tutorials on how you can become the best version of yourself. Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Thanks to Mandy Chew and Niklas Göke

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store