If you want to become wiser as you get older, say goodbye to these 8 habits

Mia Zhang by Mia Zhang | May 23, 2024, 6:52 pm

Growing older is a privilege, and with it comes the opportunity to grow wiser. But sometimes, we seem to carry along certain habits that aren’t doing us any favors in the wisdom department.

I’ve been there, done that. Tried to shake off some stuff, but they stick like superglue. You might even feel that these habits are part of who you are.

But let me tell you, it’s not always the case. 

You feel this nagging sense that some things need to change if you want to truly embrace the wisdom that aging offers. 

It’s like cleaning out your closet, or better yet, shedding old skin.

Here’s a rundown of the 8 habits you might want to say goodbye to if you’re aiming for that ‘wise as an owl’ status as you age. 

Trust me, it’s going to be a game-changer.

1) Hanging on to negative self-talk

We all have that small voice inside our heads, the one that loves to criticize and point out our flaws. It’s like a broken record, always replaying the same negative messages.

Remember when you missed that deadline at work? Or when you made that mistake in front of your friends? That voice is always there, reminding you of your past missteps.

You might think this is just a part of you, an internal reality check.

However, it’s not.

Negative self-talk can be incredibly damaging, making you believe in a distorted version of yourself. It hampers your growth and stops you from realizing your full potential.

If you want to become wiser as you age, it’s time to say goodbye to this habit. 

Swap it for positive self-affirmations and watch how you flourish. A wise person knows their worth and doesn’t belittle themselves with constant negativity. 

After all, wisdom is about growing and learning from our mistakes, not dwelling on them.

2) Staying in a comfort zone

I’ll be the first to admit it, I love my comfort zone. It’s warm, cozy, and most importantly, safe. It’s like this little bubble that shields me from any potential harm or disappointment.

But you know what? It’s also incredibly limiting.

Staying in my comfort zone means I’m not taking any risks, not challenging myself, not trying anything new. It’s like being on a treadmill, moving but not making any real progress.

As I’ve gotten older and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve realized that growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. Wisdom doesn’t just drop on your lap while you’re comfortably tucked away in your routine.

It’s essential to step out of that comfort zone. Embrace the unknown, take risks, make mistakes and learn from them.

It might be scary at first, but trust me, the rewards are worth it.

3) Procrastination

Now, here’s a habit I’ve struggled with for years. There was always an excuse, a reason to put things off.

For instance, I wanted to learn Spanish for the longest time. But I kept procrastinating, pushing it off for another day. It took me years to finally get started.

And you know what I realized? Every day that I procrastinated, I robbed myself of the chance to learn, to grow, to become wiser.

The ‘perfect time’ never comes. There will always be something else, an excuse waiting in the wings.

So start that project you’ve been putting off. Learn that new skill. 

Every step you take is a step towards wisdom. Because wisdom isn’t just about age, it’s about experiences and learning from them.

And you can’t have those experiences if you’re always waiting for ‘later’.

4) Living in the past

Here’s the thing. 

The human brain is wired to remember negative experiences more vividly than positive ones. It’s a survival mechanism that helped our ancestors avoid danger. But in our modern lives, this tendency can hold us back.

When we live in the past, we’re focused on what’s already happened. We replay our mistakes and our regrets over and over again. It can be a cycle that’s hard to break.

We can’t change what has already happened, but we can control how we react to it and what we do moving forward.

Focus on the present, learn from your mistakes, and use them as stepping stones towards a wiser future.

5) Avoiding difficult conversations

Here’s something I’ve learned over the years. Avoiding difficult conversations doesn’t make the problem go away. It only kicks the can down the road.

In my younger years, I used to skirt around issues, dodge confrontations and let things slide. It seemed easier than facing the discomfort of a tough conversation.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that this habit wasn’t doing me any favors. In fact, it was preventing me from growing, from gaining the wisdom that comes with resolving issues head-on.

Difficult conversations can be uncomfortable, sure. But they’re also opportunities for growth, for understanding, for resolution. And more often than not, they’re necessary.

It’s time to say goodbye to avoiding difficult conversations. Embrace them instead. You’ll be surprised at the wisdom that comes from facing problems head-on and finding solutions.

6) Not seeking feedback

In my twenties, I thought I had all the answers. I was confident, maybe a tad too much. The idea of asking others for feedback seemed unnecessary, almost like a sign of weakness.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand that this was a flawed perspective.

Seeking feedback is not an admission of failure or incompetence. Instead, it’s a proactive step towards improvement. It’s about understanding how you can be better, do better.

I’ve learned more about myself and how to navigate life from the feedback of others than I could have ever figured out on my own.

Be open to constructive criticism and use it as a tool for growth. Wisdom is often about seeing ourselves through the eyes of others and learning from their perspectives.

7) Neglecting self-care

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put myself last in line. Between work, family, friends, and other commitments, self-care often took a backseat.

But, I’ve realized the importance of taking care of myself. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Neglecting self-care doesn’t just take a toll on your health, it also impacts your wisdom. How can you grow and learn if you’re constantly running on empty?

Start treating yourself with the kindness and care you give to others. It’s a crucial part of the journey towards wisdom.

8) Fear of failure

This one’s a biggie. It’s held me back more times than I care to admit. The fear of making a mistake, of not being perfect, of falling short.

But here’s what I’ve learned: Failure isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s often the beginning of something new.

Failure teaches us more than success ever could. It shows us what doesn’t work, pushes us to find what does, and builds resilience along the way.

See it as an opportunity for growth, a stepping stone towards wisdom.

Remember, it isn’t about having all the answers. It’s about learning, growing, and embracing the journey with all its ups and downs. 

And sometimes, that means failing and picking ourselves back up again.

The takeaway

As you’ve journeyed through these points, perhaps you’ve identified some habits that have been holding you back. The good news is, recognizing these habits is the first step towards wisdom.

These habits aren’t set in stone, they can be changed. It takes conscious effort and self-awareness, but it’s a journey worth embarking on.

Begin by acknowledging these habits in your daily life. Once you’re aware of them, you can start working on saying goodbye to these habits.

It might not happen overnight, but with each small step, you’re moving closer to becoming wiser as you age.

Take heart in the words of ancient philosopher Socrates – “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Embrace the journey with all its ups and downs. Keep learning, keep growing, and remember to be kind to yourself along the way.