Repeating Past Errors? 15 Mistakes Happy People Never Make
You might find yourself wondering whether these individuals are simply incredibly lucky, or if there's something about them that ensures they have such great lives.
As it turns out, there's good evidence to suppose that happiness is strongly tied to our habits. This means that you can choose to think and behave in ways that support a happy life and you can avoid repeating the same mistakes.
While it's helpful to think about adding new habits, it's at least equally useful to think about dropping behavior patterns that don't serve your overall well-being.
We'll explore 15 extremely common mistakes that you've probably made at some point, and that the happiest people avoid at all costs. Throughout, we'll also suggest how you can develop alternative approaches, and why this is so important.
15 Mistakes That Could Be Making You Unhappy
Do you keep repeating the same mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes, so don't beat yourself up about things you've done in the past. The main thing you need to do is learn from those errors, and then use that learning to create a happier life.
In many cases, in fact, these types of missteps are necessary stops on the road to understanding who you are what you want.
As you read through these fifteen major mistakes that happy people rarely make, think about how they apply to your own life (and those of people around you).
Many of them may seem productive at first but can cause long-term dissatisfaction.
1. Striving To Achieve Absolute Perfection
Perfection isn't required for happiness, and can actually block it.
Instead of trying to be the best at everything, happy people know that it's fine to be good enough; to aim high and work hard, but not have unrealistic and unattainable expectations.
Social media plays a key role here, as people tend to present idealized versions of themselves online.
Know that these narratives aren't real, and focus on doing the best you can.
Celebrate your achievements, even if you're not the world leader in your field, and believe that you're a good partner or friend even when you're not 100% “on” at all times.
It's tempting to work extremely hard if you want to be happy, because you want to be promoted, earn more, impress others, and so on.
However, if you work so much that you're completely burnt out, it's impossible to be happy even if you have all the wealth and admiration in the world!
In addition, know the warning signs that you're running low on energy, and take a day for self-care when you need to.
3. Putting A Dollar Amount On Success
Of course, having financial abundance can help you gain many things that promote well-being; you can buy the house you want, gain the freedom to do the kind of work you love, and so on.
However, true happiness has to come from within, and can't be attained simply by possessing more material objects.
Your success isn't defined by how much money you have.
Rather, it's defined by the depth of your relationships, the strength of your self-esteem, and the pleasure that you derive from every day of your life.
Without these things, having huge amounts of money is a hollow, meaningless experience.
4. Always Living In The Future
It's great to have goals and to devote energy to attaining them.
However, if you're constantly obsessing about the life you're going to have or how happy you're going to be in a few years, you're missing valuable opportunities to derive satisfaction the present.
At the end of the day, none of us can guarantee a life of a particular length, or know what will happen in days, months, or weeks from now.
Happy people are capable of reveling in what's available to them right now, rather than living for a future that may or may not look like what they've imagined.
Related article: Forget The Past & Future: How To Live In The Present Moment
5. Not Living In Alignment With Your Values
It's vital that you feel like you're living in a way that reflects the things you care about the most.
For example, if your main values are compassion, love, and authenticity, you'll never be happy if you're working in a career that takes advantage of others.
Similarly, you may feel unaligned and unhappy if you're faking a different personality in order to make a relationship work.
If you're not sure what your values are, brainstorm and make a list, then put the values in order.
Notice how they apply to different areas of your life, and ask yourself how you can better live in accordance with each of these values.
6. Blame Others For Their Mistakes
Prolonged self-blame is counterproductive and masochistic, fostering a concept of yourself as a failure.
However, it's equally counterproductive to place all of the blame on other people instead of taking responsibility for your own role in negative experiences.
If you do the latter, you'll never have a realistic picture of yourself and you'll also damage your closest relationships.
To be a happy person, you need to find a place somewhere in the middle.
In order words, you need to be accountable for your flaws, mistakes, or difficulties, and you also need to forgive yourself and accept your own fallibility.
7. Dwelling On Past Failures
While the above accountability is a component of a happy person's feelings, it's good to move on once you've acknowledged your mistakes.
If you spend a long time obsessing about what you did wrong, you'll naturally feel under-confident and that lack of confidence will undermine attempts at future success.
Once again, the trick here is to keep both feet on the ground and learn how to stay present, rather than constantly looking at the past.
If you struggle to move on from the past, journaling or therapy can help you process what happened and allow you to put it to bed so you can be happy in the future.
8. Holding Grudges
From time to time, people will treat you badly or wrong you, sometimes in significant ways. It is healthy to experience and express sadness, disappointment, and even anger about such experiences. However, if you hold onto these negative feelings, they are toxic and will stop you from being happy.
Acknowledge that these people have brought their own baggage into your life, and distance yourself from them if the relationship is damaged beyond repair. Then, move forward into new, stronger relationships. Happy people don't waste their energy on hatred and resentment; it hurts you more than it ever hurts the target of the feelings.
When you procrastinate, it's hard to feel good about yourself or your life. Instead, you'll often end up feeling frustrated and listless, as well as hyper-aware of all the things you wanted to do and yet didn't manage.
To be happier, try to get to the root of your procrastination. Often, it's all about being too scared to leave your comfort zone, and so finding ways to stay safe inside it. Creating a schedule for your day can help you to avoid procrastination (for example, you might commit to an hour of working on an intimidating task, which is less daunting than setting aside the day).
10. Giving People The Silent Treatment
When people make you angry or offend you, giving silent treatment is one way to demonstrate that disapproval. However, it also leads to stagnation, as being silent doesn't tackle the issue.
Instead, happy people are direct communicators who approach those who have wronged them, respectfully discussing the contentious problem and trying to work out a solution.
The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive way of rejecting someone, and often the other person may have no clear idea of what they did wrong.
Being direct and honest can be a little scary in the short term, but it leads to much stronger bonds in the longer term.
11. Losing Hope
We all encounter setbacks and feel disappointed. However, it's a mistake to assume that setbacks indicate you'll never succeed, or that you should give up on your dreams.
Happy people know that they should never lose hope and that everything is transient.
Bad times will pass, good times will arrive, and you'll have many opportunities to get the things you want out of life.
If you need to, take a break and do something light and fun before you go back to trying to accomplish something. However, do get back to it, and you may be surprised by how quickly things turn in your favor.
Yes, as mentioned above, it's healthy to express your feelings, even the less pleasant ones.
On the other hand, relentlessly complaining about your lot in life does nothing but reinforce a negative attitude and a negative self-concept.
Happy people may need to vent sometimes, but they typically don't complain for long.
In fact, many of them deliberately flip negatives into positives, trying to see a benefit to every situation (no matter how difficult or unexpected).
When you do yourself, you train your mind to have a healthier, more balanced perspective; one that fosters success, happiness, and resilience.
13. Forgetting To Take Action
If something is important to you, do whatever you need to do in order to ensure you remember it.
In the modern world with all its technological enhancements, there's really no excuse for forgetting things you allegedly planned to do.
If you're the forgetful type or have a lot on your plate, set reminders either online or in the form of written notes.
And if you need some encouragement, ask someone you love to remind you as well.
Happy people prioritize the things that really matter to them, and make sure they arrange backups to remind them of important next steps.
14. Taking Life For Granted
Even if you don't yet have everything you ever wanted, you're lucky in a great many ways.
For example, if you spend just ten minutes writing down all the things that inspire gratitude in you, you'll quickly see that there's so much to be pleased about.
Happy people take this “glass half full approach”, knowing that it's important to appreciate what you have while nonetheless striving to be better.
If you have difficulty with this and tend to take life for granted, start a gratitude journal in which you write three things every night before bed.
15. Having Regrets
Finally, if you want to be genuinely happy then you need to move away from regret.
This means seeing mistakes as opportunities for learning and for personal development, rather than feeling sorry for yourself and constantly replaying the things you think you screwed up.
It can be helpful to look at things you used to regret and see how (even though they were unfortunate at the time) they actually led you to one of your most important opportunities, relationships, or experiences.
Often, what seems like something to regret will turn out to be a blessing in disguise; you just have to give it time.