Toxic habits ruining your potential
Personal Growth + Productivity

14 Toxic habits that are ruining your potential

What makes a habit toxic? We all have some bad habits we would like to break. But does bad habit equate to being toxic?

Some would argue “yes obviously!” bad habits or toxic habits, same difference. But I personally feel bad habits turn toxic when they harm your potential to grow and progress in life.

Like nail-biting it can start out as a bad habit but if you are chewing off your fingers along with the nails that’s toxic! After that very bad example, I’m still hoping you get my drift.

Toxic habits are difficult to break as these are ingrained in our mind. If we dig deeper we shall find we have some of these habits in all aspects of our life.

This article will explore 14 classic habits that are toxic to your self-growth and how to break ourselves free of this mindset.

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14 Toxic Habits That Are Ruining You

14 toxic habits ruining your potential

1. Procrastinating On Tasks

Procrastination is our fear to deal with things that seem too difficult. We simply put off doing these things until we can’t ignore them.

But procrastination also stops us from doing simple everyday things. Like there’s nothing scary about clearing out garbage everyday right?

Yet some of us refuse to clear our garbage due to laziness. Before you know it, the entire week’s garbage has piled up.

There are many instances where procrastination induced by laziness has got the better of us to sabotage potential opportunities of self-growth.

Related Posts: 21 Tips to beat your inner procrastinator

2. Impulsive Spending

Impulsive spending shows your lack of self-restraint and discipline. It takes minutes to spend the money you worked hours to earn. 

Having regular take-out food, compulsive shopping habits, online shopping can cause a serious dent in your earnings and pile up those credit card bills. 

If you are afflicted with the online shopping habit, here’s an interesting tip, whenever you feel like purchasing a product, give yourself an hour or two before you order that item. Chances are you won’t feel like buying that product after an hour.

Here’s a post on creating some more good money habits in your 20s.

3. Gossiping

Gossiping is a natural human instinct since most of us want to stay updated on any interesting news that would break the daily monotony.

But gossiping as a habit is really toxic as it is based mostly on hearsay and can have damaging consequences for the person you are gossiping about.

A useful tip here would be whenever you hear gossip; you can choose not to react to it by remaining silent. Before you have the urge to gossip ask yourself – what does it say about you as a person and is your life absolutely perfect?

4. Checking your Phone Frequently

Grabbing your phone as soon as you wake up or checking your feed for updates every two minutes; sharing every little update of your personal life are all cases of phone addiction which is toxic to your mental health.

Phone addiction overloads our brain with excessive information as well as enforces other negative mindsets like low self-worth and unnecessary comparisons, not to forget the cumulative time-waste.

The physical effects phone addiction is equally bad as it affects your natural sleep cycle, vision and increases stress.

Begin some healthy phone habits stopping your phone usage at least 30 minutes before sleeping and keep your phone away from your bed.


Toxic Habit of Phone Addiction

4. Dwelling in the Past

Living in the past, thinking of what could have been or what you could have done differently, only leads to time-waste.

Excessive dwelling on the past is just unproductive daydreaming which affects your present and future. So learn to let go of any bad experiences and regrets. Most importantly learn to forgive yourself.

6. Not Saying ‘NO When You Should

Saying no at times when you have to doesn’t make you a bad person. It is okay to say no sometimes.

There are people who tend to take advantage if you don’t take a strong stand. Stop being a punching bag for people and stop saying yes for people-pleasing, no matter what you do you simply can’t make everyone happy.

7. Giving In To Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure is toxic and most of us given in to it even when it is detrimental to our health and overall growth.

Like for instance your friend wants you to accompany her shopping even though you have to prepare for your job interview the next day; in such a situation it’s necessary to be honest with your friend.

If she’s a good friend she’ll understand your situation or otherwise you are better off without her.

8. Not being humble

Humility is endearing, but it’s a trait we are losing rapidly. Minimum courtesy like saying thank you and please can actually lift someone’s spirit. So let’s practice saying it more.

8. Toxic Relationships

We all have experienced some sort of bad relationship. It could have been a friend or a partner. But toxic relationships take a lot out of you, and leave you an emotional wreck!

Don’t do this to yourself, you are deserving of every bit of happiness life has to offer. Love yourself a bit more and just let go!


Break Your bad habits by loving yourself

9. Micro-managing things

Are you a control-freak? I am a bit of a one and it’s not something I am proud of. I remember there was a time when one thing remaining in my task list would keep me awake all night.

I am constantly trying to improve by reminding myself I cannot control everything. If you are like me, here’s a great reminder you can use, “things are gonna mess up once in a while and that’s okay!”

10. Negative thoughts

Negative mindset leads to self-doubt, jealousy, low confidence, low-self esteem and so on. If you constantly have negative thoughts about yourself and others, no matter what you do you will remain dissatisfied.

The first step to checking your negative mindset would be to stop comparing yourself with others; you do you and trust your strengths and intelligence. Self-belief is something you have to cultivate within yourself.

I find repeating positive affirmations deeply motivating. Here are my top 21 affirmations you can use.

Related Post: 7 Mindset shifts you need for positivity

11. Being disorganized

A fair bit of organization in your professional and personal life will save you a lot of time and mental hassle. Every six months or so de-clutter your home, try to fix regular time for a weekly cleaning chore. Have a system in place of managing your work and home.

12. Not taking care of yourself

The Bad Habits of not Taking care of Yourself

There are a number of toxic habits harming our health that we tend to ignore, these could be tiny everyday habits are so routine that it often escapes our attention. But if you observe carefully these little can cause serious health issues if ignored repeatedly.

a. Lack of sleep

Sleep is a vital body function which allows the body to fix wear and tear throughout the day. Yet most of us struggle to sleep well.

To have a good sleep create a relaxing bedtime routine and indulge in some stress-free activity like reading a book at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

b. Not drinking enough water

Your body needs water to run smoothly just like a machine which needs its oil. Not drinking water is something we all are guilty of.

This is something I have been trying to improve consistently over the years. I drink about 5-6 glasses of water throughout the day so yeah there’s definitely room for improvement.

c. Not eating enough

I used to frequently skip meals to work but this turned out to be my worst health scare when I almost fainted at my workplace because I had been running on an empty stomach.

The health risks associated with skipping meals or having inadequate amounts of food poses serious health risks like malnutrition, enlarged heart, gallbladder issues; brittle bones and so on.

d. Binge-eating

Just like not having enough food is bad, over-eating or binge-eating is also a toxic habit which is equally dangerous for your body and puts you at an increased risk of heart diseases, thyroid, obesity, hypertension etc.

e. Not exercising

Are you a lazy bum when it comes to exercising? Me too, for the longest time I couldn’t find the motivation to exercise.

But after reading Atomic Habits by James Clear I understood my approach to exercising was wrong. I loved yoga and brisk walking and a combination of these two works best for me.

If you have a similar story try to find a physical activity you enjoy doing. Take it slow and gradually indulge in about 30-45 minutes of physical activity at least 4-5 days a week.

13. Wasting Time

Examples of time waste would be not completing your work on time, being unpunctual; wasting your time in unproductive activities and so on.

I am sure you’ll agree that using time wisely is interlinked with your progress in life. Most successful people have learned the art of mastering time.

To manage your time better, create some sort of daily routine and hold yourself accountable for any time-waste.

14. Indecision

Being indecisive in life, not having any clarity about life goals can be frustrating.

Most of our indecisiveness springs from the fear of taking a wrong decision. But I would say a wrong decision can be a learning experience than remaining indecisive.

To overcome indecision, think about what you want, create some small attainable goals for yourself.

Final Thoughts on Toxic Habits

So those were some classic toxic habits most of us struggle with. Our personality is an accumulation of our habits. If you are passionate about your self-development you have to analyze your habits.

Hopefully you enjoyed this article. Do tell us which of these toxic habits you identify with?

Before you leave, please visit our resource library full of awesome free productivity planners, including a habit tracker that makes it easy for you to form new habits.

Related Posts:

101 Life-Transforming Habits to Live Better

How to form habits in your brain


  • George

    This is such an important topic when it comes to personal growth and productivity.

    I’d have to say biggest is checking my phone too frequently. And that leads to a lot of time wasting.

    Getting a smartwatch has helped some because I can check notifications on there instead of opening my phone and getting sucked back in.

  • Isabella G

    This is a wonderful article and you hit the mark. Two points you make really struck me deep. Wasting time and procrastinating. Before this global pandemic I used to have daily to do lists and I stuck to them. Now, I have been procrastinating and wasting so much time. My mindset switched from a productive person to a why bother person. The scary part is, Ive grown comfortable with it! I fight with myself daily to get back on track, I don’t like who I’ve allowed myself to become. My key point is I’ve allowed this to be my new normal. Ug. I’m in the process of turning my mindset around, however slowly.