25 ways you risk ruining your life (that are actually very common)

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Nobody wants to ruin their life.

They want success and happiness and peace of mind.

But they don’t always do what’s necessary to get those things.

Instead, they act in ways that can bring a whole heap of pain and misery and struggle.

And they often do so without even realizing it. They don’t think about the consequences of what can sometimes seem like sensible actions to take.

If you wish to avoid ruining your life, don’t do the following:

1. Having too much faith in other people.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t trust anyone, but rather that you can have faith in others while also verifying and keeping tabs on what’s going on.

For example, you may leave your spouse to arrange the monthly mortgage payments because you trust them, only to find out a year later that they’d gotten behind on said payments and didn’t tell you because they were scared and ashamed.

Suddenly you’re facing homelessness, and single life too since you learned you can’t trust this person anymore.

Trust, but verify, and never give over full responsibility to anyone.

2. Not trusting your intuition.

How often have you felt wary about a particular situation or choice, done it against your better judgement, and then felt rubbish later?

Not trusting your intuition can lead you down some seriously dark paths.

This can relate to your personal health and safety, or life choices such as career paths or investments.

The house that didn’t feel right may fall apart on you, the meal you didn’t want to eat may poison you, and the stranger in the elevator that made you feel uneasy might have nefarious designs on you.

Trust your gut instinct, always.

Extra reading: How To Listen To Your Intuition And Develop Your Gut Feeling (A Complete Guide)

3. Not considering the consequences of your actions.

Not taking into consideration the eventual consequences of your actions, either due to lack of experience or stupidity, can ruin your entire life.

For example, a young person who pulls what they consider to be a “prank” for the sake of social media exposure may wind up in prison for a while.

Having a record will impact their future on every single level, and for what? A few likes on TikTok and some laughs from friends. Is that worthwhile?

Every single action has consequences that will ripple outward. As such, think very carefully about what may ensue from your actions, and then do a cost-benefit analysis before taking action.

4. Trying to please others at the expense of your own wellbeing.

You’ll never be able to please everyone, nor should you feel as though you’re obliged to do so.

This is especially true if you’re expected to make everyone else happy while wearing yourself down to a shadow in the process.

Some people need to be let down, told off, or otherwise disappointed in order to keep yourself sane and safe.

Furthermore, if people constantly see you de-prioritizing yourself and making your own happiness irrelevant, that’s how they’ll treat you as well.

Extra reading: How To Stop Being A People Pleaser: 15 Tips That Actually Work!

5. Refusing to accept your limitations.

We are all capable of doing some pretty awesome things, but we’re not all capable of doing All The Things.

And that’s absolutely okay.

If people aren’t honest with themselves about the things they can’t do, they can hinder themselves from pursuing avenues they’d excel at.

Instead, they keep plodding toward that which they’ll never achieve.

Some dreams are simply never going to come to fruition, and it’s important to accept that.

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself still trying to be a rock and roll legend at the age of 70, wondering where all the time went and regretting all the paths you never took instead.

6. Assuming without asking.

Some of the biggest problems in life occur when people assume things and then act on their assumptions, rather than asking.

You might assume that your spouse meant one thing when they texted you and get mad at them, only to discover that you’d misinterpreted things completely.

Meanwhile, your awful, abusive outburst made them think twice about continuing a relationship with you, and now you’re single and will have to deal with alimony or custody battles for the next decade.

On that note:

7. Reacting rather than responding.

Many people get reactive in the moment and lash out at perceived slights or injustices, only to find that the situation was quite different than they had initially thought.

Much like the example above, had they waited until they had all the information and then responded accordingly, things would probably have been fine.

Instead, their knee-jerk reaction may have caused serious damage that can never be undone. They have to live with the consequences of their actions.

Wait until you have as much information as possible and then respond in the best way you can.

Extra reading: 10 Ways To Respond, Not React, In Moments Of Stress

8. Ignoring red flags.

There’s a common saying that “hindsight is 20/20,” and quite often we only see the truth of situations when we look back upon them. Usually in horror!

Quite often, we’re selective about what we choose to see—especially when it comes to other people’s actions.

As such, we may consciously (or unconsciously) ignore massive warning signs in favor of people’s “potential,” or the good things they do that counterbalance their atrocious behavior.

All the signs are very clearly there.

It is good to stop at regular intervals and look at everything objectively so you can see them.

9. Not taking care of your health.

Most people ignore their health for the most part until something “bad” happens.

Then, they focus more on managing symptoms than determining the causes and acting accordingly.

They don’t take preventive measures such as eating well and exercising, then wonder why they have various illnesses by age 40 and can’t climb a flight of stairs without pain.

Tend to your body now if you want it to be in a usable state 20 years from today.

10. Remaining in your comfort zone indefinitely.

Some people are so afraid of the “what ifs” that change can bring that they’ll avoid it at all costs.

That way, they never have to deal with the discomfort of uncertainty.

You know what happens to stagnant water, right? It festers and draws mosquitoes. The same thing goes for any life that isn’t allowed to evolve and grow.

People need to experience things that are challenging and uncomfortable in order to develop resilience and suitable coping mechanisms.

Otherwise, they fall apart if a breeze suddenly changes direction.

11. Choosing to only interact within echo chambers.

Echo chambers are great if you want endless praise and reassurance that everything you think and say is perfect and brilliant, but they’re terrible if you actually want to grow as a person.

If you never have your ideas or opinions challenged, then you never have to learn how to think critically and defend your stance.

Furthermore, you’ll take any contradiction as a personal attack and consider it “toxic.”

This will not bode well for you in the future—either at work, or in your potential relationships.

12. Playing the victim.

Blaming everyone else for your misfortunes will only harm you in the long run.

Not only is it a form of self-deception in which you’ve made up a backstory to explain away all your unhealthy or abusive traits, but you’ll show others that you won’t take responsibility for the consequences of your own actions.

Instead, you’ll try to shift the blame onto others and then cry to everyone about your fate.

If people can’t respect you, they won’t be able to trust you. Furthermore, they may not even want you around.

Life is really difficult to handle solo, so consider what kind of person you want to be, and take appropriate action.

13. Pretending to be someone you’re not.

Trying to be someone you’re not in order to please (or attract/keep) others will only end in tears.

Nobody can maintain a masquerade forever, and living a lie will eat away at you over time.

The truth will come out, and then you’ll have to deal with the trauma of getting used to being your true self, and admitting to everyone else that you aren’t who they thought you were.

14. Demanding help, but never giving it.

Many people are quick to reach out to their social circles when they need or want something, but they don’t reciprocate when the wheel turns.

If you’re continually asking others for assistance, but proving that you’ll never give it in turn, you’ll soon find that nobody wants to help you anymore.

You may have a busy, stressful life and thus feel justified in never stepping up when others need you, but those others have a lot to deal with too.

15. Being irresponsible and frivolous.

When and if you get a sudden financial windfall, are you responsible with it? Or do you go on shopping sprees and take everyone you know out for $20 margaritas?

If you have a few days off, do you use it to rest and replenish yourself? Or go partying and then complain for weeks about how exhausted you are?

When you find yourself benefitting from abundance, don’t squander it. That goes for sleep and health as well as finances.

16. Justifying instead of apologizing.

People who own up to their mistakes and take action to make amends are respected and appreciated.

This shows strength of character, and that the person cares enough about others to want to make things right.

In contrast, a person who justifies their (often terrible) behavior and makes excuses for it—or simply refuses to discuss it and instead simply moves on—shows others that they can’t be trusted.

This can cause irreparable harm in relationships as well as work environments.

17. Making major decisions on a whim.

While it may sound adventurous and romantic to fly off to Vegas to marry someone you’ve known for five minutes, that’s unlikely to be a good idea in the long run.

Same goes for tattooing something across your forehead or taking drastic, self-harming action when your emotions are running high.

When you’re faced with something potentially life changing, hold off for a while until you can be more logical and rational about it.

Extra reading: How To Stop Making Rash Decisions: 15 Highly Effective Tips

18. Taking unnecessary, irresponsible risks.

Many people who have experienced life-altering accidents did so because they either “weren’t thinking” at the time or didn’t think it would be that big a deal.

For example, you may not bother putting your seatbelt on because you’re just driving to the store that’s literally two minutes away, but if you get T-boned in the intersection en route there, things are not going to end well for you.

19. Being juvenile.

There are few things as off-putting as childish behavior in adults, especially if they have terrible consequences.

You may think it’s hilarious to push your friend into the pool, but what happens if they hit their head and get permanent brain damage? Or drown?

What began as juvenile silliness may end up as an assault or manslaughter charge. Would a moment of puerile stupidity be worth that kind of grief and loss?

Extra reading: How To Grow Up And Be A Mature Adult: 13 No Nonsense Lessons!

20. Talking trash.

Do you remember the adage that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?

This can often mean the difference between a continued peaceful existence, and dealing with intense fallout.

We all get angry or hostile at times, but there are healthy and smart ways to release those pent-up frustrations.

You may think that trash-talking your boss to a coworker—either verbally or via text—is cathartic, but it might result in you getting fired, sued for libel, etc.

Similarly, mouthing off to some stranger on the street to impress your friends or partner might seem funny, but it’ll be less funny if they get physically violent with you.

21. Telling others too many details about yourself.

While you may find it cathartic to drunkenly confess to a random stranger at a bar about some awful thing you did, you may end up horrified to discover that person is your new boss, or the judge at your trial later on.

Unless you know someone very well and they’ve proven that they’re completely trustworthy, keep details to yourself. You never know who that random person might end up being, and how they may use your secrets against you in the future.

Loose lips sink ships, and all that.

Extra reading: How To Stop Oversharing: 6 Tips That Actually Work!

22. Following the crowd rather than doing what’s right.

Many people feel immense shame over actions they took when they were simply following others’ example rather than standing up for what they believed in.

For a lot of them, cowardice at possibly being ostracized or condemned won out over their own morals and ethics.

In other cases, they got caught up in the momentum and grabbed a pitchfork to join in with the mob.

Consider the long-reaching consequences of your actions (or lack thereof) before taking part, and ask yourself whether you’ll be able to look in a mirror without shame if you choose this particular path.

23. Rushing into things.

Many people rush into situations instead of taking the time to observe and analyze them.

They might think that it’s a great idea to sell all their possessions and invest in their friend’s ashram startup in Costa Rica, without doing the research to find out whether all the financial and legal supports are in place first.

Or they’ll rush into a serious relationship with a person before really getting to know them, then be horrified later when they find out more about them.

24. Not taking care of small problems before they become Big Issues.

While we can’t prevent difficult situations from occurring, we can nip them in the bud before they overwhelm us.

If you don’t fix the tiny drip in the ceiling, you may have to deal with a full roof replacement from water damage over time.

Similarly, if you don’t get that weird freckle looked at while it’s still small, you may end up facing some pretty harrowing (and expensive) medical treatment several months or years down the road.

25. Lying.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

One of the best and most surefire ways to ruin your life is to lie.

Lying to yourself can bring about serious suffering, especially when dealing with health or financial issues.

Meanwhile, lying to your loved ones will ruin trust permanently—especially if you’re being dishonest about things like infidelity, money, or legal issues.

Aim for honesty at all times, and if you feel that you can’t be, consider changing your circumstances accordingly.

Extra reading: How To Stop Lying In 6 No Nonsense Steps!

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.