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5 Self-Improvement Habits That Are Draining and Harmful to You

Self-improvement is not a new concept in human culture. It's been seen in commercials and just watching folks who seem to be living "better" lives than us. However, in recent years, it has gained a lot of traction in terms of popularity, from Rich Dad Poor Dad to The Secret.

Self-help and self-improvement has a cult following, ranging from Napoleon Hills in the nineteenth century to Tony Robbins today. The desire of more and better things, whether in terms of health, clothing, or money, has become commonplace, but at the expense of people's well-being. It's almost humiliating not to be hustling, better yourself in any manner, or sacrificing yourself for the title of a successful hustler.

This thinking is distorting society's views and preventing people from finding calm in quiet or in their own awesomeness. We all admire the story of the underdog who succeeds because it inspires us to believe that we can succeed as well. And that is a powerful conviction to hold. However, the self-improvement culture can make us feel disempowered, as if we should be someone else, so here are 5 bad self-improvement habits to avoid.

1. Extremely High and Unrealistic Expectations

There's nothing wrong with having objectives. Indeed, having them implies you have something to strive for and can focus your efforts on.

When we're striving to improve ourselves, though, we can and do compare ourselves to others we admire, whose lives appear to be so much more beautiful and better than ours. We end up comparing our achievements and setting unrealistic goals for ourselves to get to where they are in the same length of time or in the same manner.

We may even begin to accept their goals and expectations for ourselves unconsciously. This is a dangerous habit because we are too preoccupied with achieving other people's standards to focus on ourselves and our happiness of life. We must define our own ideas and set our own goals, avoiding all comparisons to others' achievements because doing so is an insult to oneself. You don't have to be flawless; all you have to do is be honest and true to yourself.

2. The Hustle Culture Mentality 

“I'm grinding while they're sleeping.” Not everyone can grind at night because they are a night owl. Maybe it's because you work the night shift.

Putting aside the hilarity, these quotes about never giving up, continually hustling, and sacrificing sleep are genuinely harmful. While I see why this mindset is trying to push you to keep going, it's more of a punishment than a reward (although, some people thrive with the stick method).

Giving up is necessary at times, and it is not a terrible thing. It's difficult and upsetting, but it's important, especially if it's not working or draining you. It's natural that not everything will be a success. As much as there are those who must support themselves and/or others and work long hours, always hustling without pausing to catch your breath can lead to terrible burnout. And you shouldn't have to give up sleep to reach your goal. A good night's sleep is essential for good health and enjoyment of life.

3. Putting Aesthetics Over Health

When it comes to self-improvement and practically everything else, social media is an in-between tool. It has aided many individuals in making positive changes in their lives, but it has also warped how we see ourselves and each other, particularly physically.

We've been sold the concept that the way our bodies look is a measure of desirability and importance, rather than the way they look as a measure of people looking their best and supporting healthy lifestyles and behaviors. Women are encouraged to undergo risky, needless cosmetic surgery, while men are encouraged to get jacked and in the gym by any means necessary to achieve those gains.

Our bodies aren't something to be embarrassed of, and we shouldn't be indoctrinated into plucking, plumping, and injecting for social media likes and affirmation from strangers. You can have a good appearance but not be in excellent health. Obsessing over your appearance in the mirror chips away at your growth and self-esteem. Insecurities about your body overshadow your desire for self-improvement, and it's a difficult mindset to shake.

4. Information Without Application 

“Education is a passport to the future, since those who prepare for it today will own it tomorrow.” Malcolm X (Malcolm X)

We weren't all told this, but learning never stops. There is no end to it, whether it's higher learning institutions, literature, or life events. That's pretty good, in my opinion. We have access to a wide range of unique interests as well as opportunities to learn more about them and enjoy our life. That's a lovely thing.

One issue we face is the colossal amount of information and knowledge that is continually and unfailingly available to us. Advertisements and campaigns that promote a product or service. This is a major deal, especially in the self-help or self-improvement industry. There are so many books available, and new ones are always being released.

All of these "how to's" are beneficial, but there is a drawback to this knowledge overload. Instead of putting what we've learned into practice, we keep it in our heads or let it collect dust on our bookshelves and nightstands. It's not meant to be seen as a dig at anyone, but applied knowledge is the greatest type. Don't be hesitant to put what you've learnt into practice in the real world.

5. Visualizations Without Action

We've been dreaming about what we want to be or have in our life since we were children. We imagined ourselves as painters and pilots, and we drew every day and played "airplane" with our buddies. We were ecstatic about our future prospects.

Visualizations are a powerful tool for manifesting the life you want by putting it out into the universe/God/nothingness and seeing it in detail in your mind's eye and becoming excited about it. It's a great motivator for when you need to summon your inner willpower. Self-improvement experts advise us to use visualization in various forms to plan the life we want.

It becomes a problem when you only "put it out there" and fantasize about it, with nothing in between to bridge the distance between you and it. You're missing out on the action of making it happen. It's merely an illusion to dream of the ideal life you could ever think of that you deserve if it doesn't have the structure and execution in reality. It's up to you to actually accomplish it.

Do I believe that self-improvement is beneficial? Yes, it is possible. However, some cultural behaviors are damaging and must be addressed, and we must stop treating each other and ourselves as work horses with tunnel vision who are only interested in working and improving themselves into oblivion. It's fine to hustle, but don't lose sight of the bigger picture.

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