21 Self-Destructive Habits Everyone Needs to Eliminate Immediately

Jack Martin
Feb 7, 2019 · 5 min read
Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

I’m constantly reading up on best practices for personal growth, self-development and productivity.

And while I’ve written a lot about habits we should implement, I never really talk about habits we should eliminate.

Studying the self-improvement world for the past three years, I’ve come across more than a handful.

Without further ado…

Here are 21 self-destructive habits you need to eliminate from your life right now:

1. Scrolling.

For the love of all things holy we need to stop scrolling through social feeds.

You’d think we’d know better after learning the physical and emotional tolls of too much screen time. Not to mention, the affects it has on our interpersonal relationships.

We’re addicted — we need to admit it and quit it.

2. Hitting snooze.

Just get up when your alarm goes off.

If you like hitting snooze so much, set earlier alarms.

3. Hanging out with bad influences.

Most of us have trouble distancing ourselves from people who hold us back.

We feel an overwhelming amount of guilt when we think about cutting ties with certain ‘friends’ — even if they’re preventing us from becoming our best selves.

Realize something: most of your ‘friendships’ are purely circumstantial.

Just because you have something in common with someone doesn’t mean you should automatically be friends with that person.

4. Lying to yourself.

Don’t lie to yourself.

Do what you want to do, say what you want to say, live how you want to live. If you disagree with something, speak up, or just say nothing and don’t do it anyway.

The worst thing you can do for your happiness is fall into the habit of lying to yourself.

5. Checking your phone right when you wake up.

I used to do this all the time — until I realized how much it affected my daily productivity.

If you check your phone right when you wake up, you’ll not only waste time scrolling and replying to things that don’t matter, but you’ll probably check your phone a lot more throughout the rest of the day.

There’s really no reason to let the world know you’re up anyway.

Try going the first hour after you wake up without checking your phone. It’s actually quite peaceful.

6. Bringing your phone into every room.

What a segue, huh?!

Piggybacking off of #5, there’s no reason to bring your phone everywhere you go.

Yet, like me, you probably bring it into the bathroom and scroll Instagram’s explore page while you pee. Next thing you know, you’re left wondering where the day went, self-loathing at your lack of productivity — all because you chose to keep your phone in your hand all day long.

It’s OK — just let it go.

You’ll be fine.

7. Eating sugar.

99.9% of you won’t quit doing this.

I get it — it’s not for the weak minded.

Just know this: sugar is killing you :)

8. Being late.

Being late is a terrible habit that needs absolutely no explanation.

Stop being late.

9. Assuming the worst.

This probably could be bumped up to self-destructive habit #1, but I wasn’t really listing by order of importance so I’ll keep it here. All of these could be “#1.”


As a society, we tend to assume the worst. Not in like an, “oh my God we’re all gonna die” way, but we often give those little voices saying things like “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m such a failure” too much attention.

Next time you catch negative thoughts creeping into your head, kick ’em on out.

10. Giving unsolicited advice.

Ever seen someone giving unwarranted advice and want scream: “NOBODY ASKED YOU!” ?

Well, don’t be that person.

11. Being a ‘yes’ person.

Speaking of being a certain type of person, another person you don’t want to be is a ‘yes’ person.

This goes hand-in-hand with point #4: Lying to yourself.

Don’t say yes because you feel like you have to, or because you don’t want to disappoint someone.

Saying ‘yes’ to everything only increases those scenarios anyway, giving you more things you’re gonna have to say ‘yes’ to that you don’t want to do.

12. Saying no to everything.

Life is about balance.

Just like you shouldn’t be a ‘yes’ person, you should watch how often you say no, too. Sometimes, the thing you want to say ‘no’ to has unforeseen opportunities attached to it.

Find the right balance between the two.

13. Making excuses.

People laugh at the old grade-school excuse, “my dog ate my homework.”

I laugh at “I’m too tired,” “I wasn’t feelin’ it,” and “something came up” the very same way.

All excuses sound ridiculous — no matter how ‘legit’ you convince yourself they are.

14. Watching T.V.

The Office has stolen thousands of hours of sleep and productivity from me.*

*hehe, excuse ;)

But seriously, we don’t need T.V. It hurts your eyes and your brain and makes it harder for you to sleep and you get addicted to it and there’s honestly no point and I’m gonna end this justification now.

Read instead. Books are far more entertaining.

15. Criticizing.

We criticize a lot.

We talk about how we can do this better than the next person, and would be able to do that easily, and tell people how silly or inefficient or just plain stupid we think these things and those things are.

I’m pretty sure any time an NBA player misses a free throw I cock my head back say: “Psshhh—weak! I woulda splashed it.”

It’s extremely self-destructive, and likely coming from a place of personal insecurity (mine was never being able to ball like I’m Kobe).

16. Overthinking.

I used to overthink a lot.

I’d romanticize scenarios in my head and stress myself out to the point of physical exhaustion — usually over nothing.

Life breaks down into two categories: things you can control, and things you can’t. Know the difference.

Focus on the former and forget about the latter.

17. Going to bed super late.

Even if you’re a ‘night owl,’ you need to get to bed at a decent hour.

I don’t care if you can make your own schedule and sleep-in every morning. The rest of the world operates from 6AM to midnight.

Staying up past that isn’t doing you any good.

18. Judging people.

You have no right.

Judging makes you bitter, not better.

19. Talking instead of doing.

This one is huge.

One of the most self-destructive habits I see is people talking about what they’re going to accomplish instead of taking actionable advice to actually accomplish something.

Talking about it doesn’t do you any good. And the worst part is, you start to actually believe yourself over time, even if you’re getting nothing done.

Stop talking, start doing.

20. Eating fast food.

I don’t need to explain this.

I just had to mention it.

21. Feeling entitled.

A lot of us feel like we’re owed something.

Like we deserve happiness, friends, success. Like we’re supposed to have it easy. Like all the stars will align for us and everything will work out better than we planned.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I don’t care who you are, where you’re from or what you’ve done with your life thus far: don’t act entitled. In doing so, you’re inadvertently setting yourself up for continued disappointment.

Nothing is given.

Everything is earned.

Thanks for reading :)

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