1. Spending so much time on the couch your skin might fuse with the upholstery.
As a general rule, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or some combination in between.
2. Regularly drinking your way into hangover city.
Drinking a lot is a clear (if enjoyable) way to compromise your health. Moderate drinking is one drink a day for women, and heavy drinking is around eight or more per week, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Routinely blowing past these parameters can lead to issues such as weight gain, unintentional injuries like falls, and chronic diseases like liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and various cancers.
3. Starting a strict diet and then falling off the wagon time and time again.
Yo-yo dieting is the result of routinely embarking upon diets that are too restrictive. When you inevitably dive into a pile of food, you’ll eventually gain back any weight you lost, and your baseline weight will inch up bit by bit, Wider explains. “It’s much better to adopt habits that will sustain a healthy weight—you don’t want to always be looking to lose weight,” she says.
4. Using electronics before bed.
You already know you should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Putting a moratorium on before-bed Instagram scrolling will help you turn in for the night more quickly, sure. But it can also help you get better quality Zs, Wider says, by lowering your exposure to sleep-disturbing blue light, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Smoking lowers life expectancy in many terrible ways, including boosting your risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and cancers anywhere else in the body, and issues like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. E-cigarettes aren’t exempt. According to the American Lung Association, “Initial studies show that e-cigarettes contain nicotine and also may add in other harmful chemicals, including carcinogens and lung irritants.”
6. Comparing yourself to others on social media.
“Watching other people put forward manufactured lives on social media can leave you feeling bad about yourself, so you want to limit that,” Wider says. But social media can also give your happiness a lift by keeping you connected with people you love and admire. It’s not about scrubbing your phone of all things social, but browsing mindfully.
7. Convincing yourself that everything you worry about will happen.
Worrying yourself into a mental tizzy is one of those common, sneaky bad habits most people indulge in without realizing it. Take a moment to breathe, be present, and ask yourself if there’s any logical basis to your worry, Carter says. That should help you separate fact from unnecessary fiction. And if it still feels like your tendency to worry is unmanageable, reach out to a mental health professional for help.
8. Complaining non-stop.
Although it’s counterproductive, complaining actually feels great. “If things feel out of control, it tricks your brain into thinking you’re doing something about it,” Carter says. When you complain, you train your brain to look for patterns in things you don’t like,” Carter explains. When you catch yourself complaining, redirect your attention to something good about the situation, or start working on a plan to change what isn’t up to par. “It doesn’t necessarily mean accepting what you don’t like, but training your brain to look for things you appreciate,” Carter says.
9. Using distractions to numb your negative emotions.
“Every time you feel uncomfortable, the world offers you a host of ways to numb that discomfort. You can check Facebook endlessly, eat a pound of brownies, or have a couple of cocktails,” Carter says. Instead of actually cutting down anxiety or sadness, these tactics just bury those emotions so they can stew and eventually erupt.
10. Making outsize goals that are hard to achieve.
This might sound incongruous after all of the above, but it actually meshes perfectly. “There’s a misconception that if you set a goal, you can achieve it through willpower. But humans change very slowly and incrementally, and people try to change too much too fast,” Carter says. Instead of setting overly ambitious goals, take small steps and introduce change slowly so you can form the neural pathways that are essential in cementing habits, Carter says. Once you succeed at those, you can take on larger goals from there.