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12 Normal Daily Habits That Secretly Mess Up Your Life

Hey, everything you do is perfect, except for these things you keep screwing up.

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Stop: Jumping out of bed and into the shower

Before getting out of bed tomorrow morning, do this: strike a pose. By assuming a pose of strength, like the “V for Victory” position with arms up, for just two minutes, “a person can instantly become more powerful,” says Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy in her book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. “Let your body tell you you’re powerful and deserving, and you become more present, enthusiastic and authentically yourself.” In other words, “Fake it till you become it.” Learn more about power poses and how they can help you start your day off right.

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Stop: Reaching for the shampoo

Your hair looks fine, so leave it alone for a day or so. Washing your hair every day strips it of its essential oils. And oils that have the descriptor “essential” must be an oil you want. Besides “day-old hair styles better and generally looks better than freshly-washed hair,” according to HuffingtonPost.com

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Stop: Throwing away bananas with brown spots

“Eww, gross! My banana’s brown.” Are you kidding? When bananas go brown, that’s when they’re at their best. They’re sweeter, tastier, and pack loads of health benefits. “A brown banana has a higher level of antioxidants than yellow or green, unripe bananas,” according to Livestrong.com. “It’s also easier to digest for people with digestive ailments, including irritable bowel and functional abdominal bloating.” Here’s more about why expiration dates don’t matter as much as you think.

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Stop: Making lists

The first item on your to-do list should be: Throw out this list. “To-do lists are where important tasks go to die,” Kevin Kruse, a time management expert, told the Daily Mail. That’s because we only do around 40 percent of what’s on the list. The problem: the tasks are not generally prioritized, and trying to tick them off leads to anxiety. Instead, says Kruse, block off 15 to 30 minute increments during the day to concentrate on your most important projects.

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Stop: Signing up for every free trial that is offered to you

“Free” is the Internet’s favorite word. But don’t think that word applies to the phrase “Free Trial Period,” because free trials usually end up costing you. “Nobody tells you when your free trial expires and turns into a paid subscription,” Buzzfeed.com reminds us. “And that is why you are poor.” Here are some more habits that are causing you to lose money.

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Stop: Being a prude

Yes, your steely smile at the jerk who cut the line at the supermarket was very genteel of you. But you’ve got a string of invectives running through your head–and that may not be such a bad thing. The potty mouths at Psychology Today tell us that cussing to yourself has loads of benefits. “By swearing we show, if only to ourselves, that we are not passive victims but empowered to react and fight back,” according to Neel Burton, MD. Cursing is also an effective pain reliever. A British study found that people who swear are able to hold their hands in ice-water for twice as long as people who don’t curse. So next time that woman cuts the line, while you don’t want to offend anyone, once you’re out of earshot, feel free to unleash exactly how you feel about her behavior.

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Stop: Reading so much

And watch TV! A British poll found that those with a television in their bedroom have sex twice as much as those who don’t, and two-thirds of those people credit TV, giving “the boob tube” a whole new meaning. A TV in the boudoir, said those polled, led to watching erotic programs together or having sex while watching their favorite shows. “Those who don’t have a TV in their bedroom use their bedroom mainly for the purpose of sleeping,” a spokesman for the pollsters told the Daily Mail. Imagine that. Learn some more daily habits of couples with healthy sex lives.

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Stop: Wasting the good vodka on the Appletinis!

Okay, put the Grey Goose down. You heard me. Now, grab the bottle that you found way, way, down on the bottom shelf of the liquor store. That’s good enough for the fruity cocktail you’re making. After all, the vodka will be masked by all the other flavors. The good stuff, says Slate.com, should “only be mixed with ice and/or tonic water and is best drunk straight and straight from the freezer.”

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Stop: The instant gratification purchase

Yes! You found it on Amazon! That Taylor Swift Pez Dispenser you’d heard about! You input your address and credit card info and you’re just about to hit send … STOP! Wait 48 hours before clicking buy, suggests CNBC.com. Because we can impoverish ourselves with all the online buying choices, we need a mechanism to slow us down. By waiting 48 hours, “you will find that, most of the time, the item was more of a ‘want’ than a ‘need.’ Plus, you’ll save money and work toward being more mindful with your spending.” Here are some unhealthy habits doctors need you to stop doing.

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Stop: Trying to be witty online

You know that funny, sarcastic joke you cracked over email with your co-worker? Yeah, well, it came off snarky and rude and now she’s not talking to you. “While a little good-natured ribbing can sometimes help to lighten face-to-face interaction,” says Forbes.com, “online your message can too easily be misinterpreted without your body language to help to explain it, and you won’t be there to soften the blow when your joke doesn’t go over as intended.” Play it safe and keep your email straight. If you must display your inner Jimmy Kimmel, “make sure that you are the butt of the joke.” Here are some habits that make others think you’re a jerk.

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Stop: Sweating the small stuff

Does this scenario from Real Simple strike a chord? During a presentation to colleagues, you blank on key points. Later, you’re embarrassed and close to tears. Remember this: “It’s never the stress-inducing event that you’re freaking out about,” Steven Berglas, PhD, a life coach in Los Angeles told the magazine. “It’s what you’re afraid might happen because of it,” such as being laughed at by co-workers or chided by a boss. Quell the angst with some deep breathing exercises, says Dr. Berglas, which will slow your heart rate and calm you down.

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Stop: Going full speed all the time

Rather than charging through life as if you’re a bull on a mission, take a minute to observe one of your lazy friends. The sluggish, Lifehack.org tells us, “don’t flit from one thing to the other. They take the time” to finish one task before going on to the next. “While some panic and don’t fully commit to the tasks, lazy people have fewer worries and calmly do their job.” Here are some unhealthy habits you have, and how to stop them.

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.