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Happiness. It’s something we all want and something many spend their entire lives looking for. But it’s possible you’ve held the key to a fulfilled life this whole time and not even realised it. Why? Because of the little things that get in the way.

If you want to escape negativity for good and kick that pursuit of happiness up a notch, the secret lies in ditching these four habits.

1. Comparing yourself to others

Constantly comparing your life, your appearance and your abilities to others is a fruitless and damaging endeavour. Why? Firstly, we tend to underestimate our own worth – which is what leads us to these negative comparisons in the first place. Secondly, we tend to overestimate others, meaning we’re simply comparing ourselves to a distorted and inaccurate view of that person. Finally you have to ask, do comparisons get us anywhere? I think we all know the answer.

2. Making excuses

What’s stopping you from chasing that dream of yours? Whether it’s a hobby or activity you’d like to try, an urge to re-enter the workforce or a desire to get fit and healthy – what’s preventing you? When it comes down to it, the main barrier is fear – or, more specifically, fear of failure. Always remind yourself that it’s never too late, never too hard and you’re never too old to get out there and chase those goals.

3. Feeling guilty

We all experience guilt at some point in our lives, both warranted and unwarranted. But what’s the point? You can never undo what’s been done. You can’t unsay what’s been said. All you can do is accept what’s happened, learn to forgive yourself and move on. After all, the only thing guilt does is prove that you’re living in the past. It’s a destructive and unhealthy habit that’s no use to anyone.

4. Holding grudges

Everyone’s been betrayed or blindsided before – even if it’s just something small – but is it so serious that you’re willing to risk your own happiness to hold a grudge? Not only are they bad for your mind, but a 2000 study found they’re also bad for your body, leading to significantly higher heart rate and blood pressure. And, at the crux of it, life is just too short for grudges.

How many of these negative habits are you guilty of? Are you willing to try and let them go? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.