Bad habits are dime a dozen, with many writers putting together lists of the habits you want to avoid. I managed to stumble upon one that lists 283 bad habits. I’m not going to be going to that extent with this list, but there are several bad habits out there that I think are especially problematic.
Not only were some of these habits things I used to do myself, but I’ve also seen in others that caused problems later. On top of that, I’d like to provide my own solutions to help you out with these habits if you do have them. Considering my background and experience with many of these things, I believe you’ll be able to overcome these issues.
In short, any person is able to overcome bad habits in their life, however, there is a certain way to go about it. The obvious method is replacing the habit with something else that’s positive. On top of that, there is also a mindset and attitude you have to have in order for the habit to stick. I’ll go into detail with these 10 bad habits in both of these areas.
When people think of bad habits, this is probably the first that comes to mind. That or smoking/doing drugs or addiction. Everyone has experience with procrastination one way or another and overcoming it isn’t so black and white as it seems to be.
It’s not always a matter of being as productive as you can be or powering through it. That’s only going to drain more from you.
Instead, procrastination stems from deep-rooted reasons that cause us to delay something. There are two main factors from this: demotivating and hindering factors.
Demotivating factors are things like fear of failure and anxiety.
Hindering factors are things that hinder our motivation and self-control (the things we use to take action) such as exhaustion or rewards that aren’t immediate.
That said, there are other considerations to keep in mind beyond that that can cause you to procrastinate. Things like vague goals, task aversion, a disconnect with who you want to become and who you are right now, and more. So broadly speaking, only you can point out specifically what’s causing your procrastination.
That said, how you can take action is clear. One needs a good amount of self-control and strong sources of motivation to do the work. That motivation will have to overcome whatever reasons you come up with to not do something.
Bad Habits Of Spending To Impress
While I haven’t had an issue with this bad habit, I know other people who have been. These days it’s easy for you to become whoever you wish to be. The internet can hide your identity if you wish and you can take out car loans and home loans with relative ease so long as you have a stable job.
This way of thinking is highly dangerous and toxic as it’s easy for people to live the life they want to have at the cost of losing their own life in a sense. What I mean is that you are going into heavy debt in order to purchase your dream home or your dream car. You have what you want, but you still have to make payments. If you can’t make those payments, you’ll likely lose what you got.
But where the toxicity really comes in is those doing this – or generally spending a lot of their hard earned money – all for the sake of status or acknowledgment of some kind. Several people have said this quote before but it still rings true today:
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”
It’s one of the worst of the bad habits to pick up since a lot of it goes to waste. However I can understand many ways why people fall for this.
Some of these reasons being:
- They are addicted to earning and/or spending.
- People lack the financial fortitude to handle larger sums of cash.
- The person lacks self esteem and believes that having nicer things will compensate for that.
While there are many reasons out there, all of it points back to a psychological urge more often than not. When you buy something, there’s emotion and meaning behind it. Even if that meaning is “I want to impress other people with my new car” or whatever.
What’s been able to help me when it comes to this is to be more mindful of my spending. Not necessarily practicing delayed gratification, but to look at a purchase logically. There are definitely things that I’ll impulse buy, but there are several reasons for my purchase. I bought a nice bike lock a few weeks ago that I wasn’t planning on getting.
The reason for that purchase is simple. I left my bike lock at home and didn’t want to bike back since I was running late for my work out. Furthermore, my old bike lock was small and could only wrap around one wheel. That and I also was thinking of replacing the bike lock for about two or so years now.
When you are looking to make a purchase of something – be it big or small – take a moment to pause and consider whether it’s something you need. Look at the most obvious costs associated beyond the pricing point. What would happen generally speaking if you were to agree to buying whatever you are buying? Is it worth the benefits that you’ll be getting from the purchase?
The third on the list of bad habits is blaming other people or shifting the blame to other people. We are all great masters at doing this sort of stuff. I can imagine for many people with this bad habit, this was something that was started off when you were younger.
This was the case for me as I had an aversion to getting in trouble. As a result, I often shifted the blame to other people.
I get that. It’s a defense mechanism since getting in trouble would cause mental harm to oneself. In order to prevent that, it’s easy for your mind to jump immediately to doing some quick thinking like shifting blame onto others.
While as a child, the mistakes made aren’t as severe, this lingering habit can cause more issues further down the road. As an adult you have more knowledge and understanding of the world. Therefore you can shift blame onto many other things.
Not just people, but concepts as well.
You have a lack of money so you blame the economy, big corporations, or the current government for the sorry state you’re in.
There was a terrible break-up you went through and so you blame it on your ex. Your ex was a total nut job anyway right?
This is one of the worst ones since this impedes your own growth as the first step to growing is admitting there is a problem. By blaming others, you’re not going to be able to overcome this. You can’t improve yourself by improving someone else or a concept.
Instead, you need to own up to what has happened and look at things from your perspective. Of course, there are situations where you aren’t to blame. However there are things you could’ve done to ensure those thing don’t happen again. The key is to shift your mindset into this way of thinking. What helped me out a lot was to start asking questions:
What could I have done differently in that situation?
Are there any lessons that I can learn from this experience?
Through questions, you have a better grasp of the situation and are able to uncover more about yourself and where you want to go.
Bad Habits Of Negative Self-Talk
For a long time, I’ve had a habit of talking to myself. While some consider this a bad habit, it actually provides a number of benefits to it. That said, it depends a lot on what you are talking about. In particular, if you have the bad habit of letting your self-talk go negative, it’s not going to help you much.
Negative self-talk is common and I can see why. When the world is in a state of despair, it’s easy for us to think negatively. There are also other factors that can contribute to negative self-talk as well. Nevertheless, most of them point to you own way of thinking and mindset.
As such, one of the best ways to overcome negative self-talk is to work on your own mindset. There are tonnes of ways to do that. Things like:
- Using a more active voice rather than passive (i.e. I will do this vs I might/can’t do this).
- Practicing affirmations.
- Shifting your perspective on problems.
- Or simply thought-stopping.
These are all powerful methods to stopping negative self-talk and shifting to more positive aspects.
Stress And Over Eating
While I wasn’t a stress eater, I was certainly an overeater in the past. Even now it can still be a bit of an issue but it’s more contained now thanks to how I’ve shaped my lifestyle and adopted better habits.
Eating disorders of any kind in my mind aren’t as simple as people play them up to be. When it comes to over eating, it’s not always a matter of forcing yourself to eat less food. There’s often a root cause that leads to it.
In my case, I was an overeater because I was bored and I watched a lot of TV around that time. Even if it was cartoons, my 12-year-old self wasn’t too different from any grown adult watching whatever is on TV and flipping through the channels mindlessly.
Something similar can be said about stress eating too. It’s normally an event or too much pressure that creates stress and prompts one to deal with it through eating. It’s not as simple as never getting stressed out.
Instead of looking at the results that fuel these bad habits, you want to look for the root cause.
What is causing you to stress out? What sequence of events is leading you to eating too much? By looking at the starting point and the triggered events from there, you can control yourself little by little.
For example, I stopped overeating after I stopped watching so much TV. How I did that was by shifting my interests. I developed other hobbies, talking to other people online amongst other things. I still had plenty of issues with portioning my food – no doubt a byproduct of my overeating – but I at least wasn’t eating food out of sheer boredom.
Knowing what triggers you can allow you to mitigate it and find healthier ways to replace them. In terms of stress, finding activities that allow you to destress will help. Going for walks, deep breathing, or finding something else to do other than eating can help.
The Bad Habit Of Being Around Those Who Don’t Improve And Appreciate You
The people in your life have some level of influence in it. This fact is known as the power of association. Associate yourself with successful individuals, you’ll find yourself successful. Associate yourself with those with weaker mindsets, you’ll find yourself with a weak mindset too.
Who you choose to associate with is within your own control, however many people gravitate towards not-so-good people. That doesn’t single out those who do drugs, smoke, or promote other bad habits though.
For example, the friends I had in high school were major influencers in my life in terms of social skills. They tended to push people away and we talked a lot about card games or video games. We didn’t speak much about our own personal feelings or what we were going through. We never confided in one another about anything too serious.
I wouldn’t call my friends terrible friends, but they were people that hampered my own social skills. From being hesitant about my feelings to choosing escapism over addressing the issue. That said, the blame isn’t entirely on my friend’s shoulders.
I made no effort to change my environment either so I stayed there for most of my teenage years.
From this perspective, I understand the appeal of sticking with people that may not be the best for you. Even in cases like mine where my friends back then weren’t too bad, but could’ve been better for me.
You’re able to find common ground and there is a bond there. You don’t want to be breaking that and going off to find someone else. Breaking those bonds can hurt those around you.
Be that as it may, it’s still worth breaking that bond for various reasons. A lot of those reasons are selfish, but such is the case with self-improvement. If you want to be improving yourself, you need to start thinking about yourself and what’s best for you.
Moving away from old friends isn’t an easy thing to do, however like most other ways to break these habits, you want to replace it with something else. In this case, you want to be making new friends or acquaintances. Here is what can help you:
- Pick up a new hobby and get involved with the local community. Meetup.com is a great place to meet new people who have common interests. If there isn’t a group made, you can easily form one yourself and attract people to it.
- Force yourself into new environments. While a new hobby will help of course, attending other social gatherings can help to. Go to a local gym and work out there. Same can apply to local swimming pool, parks, etc. Getting into a routine and making a point of chatting with people can help build bonds.
Checking Your Phone Constantly
By this point, it’s fair to say most people are addicted to checking their phones and I don’t blame them. Social media has boiled dopamine down to a science and leverages it constantly through push notifications. We’ve become so addicted to it, we can get a good dose of dopamine just by checking our phones versus doing something more productive.
There are many ways with dealing with this bad habit from locking sites during certain periods to switching locations of apps and placing your phone in a different area. Some other considerations are taking more control of your dopamine levels. That is finding greater joy in the tasks that you are doing, learning how to focus more on tasks and stay motivated, etc.
Bad Habits Of Putting Too Much On Your Plate
The final bad habit I want to cover is overwhelming yourself with too many things to do. I’ve always been a fan of to-do lists and some people have been adamant to me about how pointless and even detrimental these to-do lists really are.
I don’t believe they’re detrimental especially since after talking with someone about this I discover one thing:
They, or someone they know makes an extensive to-do list for them to do during the day.
This doesn’t work obviously and in those situations I would agree. But the problem isn’t the method but rather how people are using this method.
Many people think a to-do list is a place to dump a bunch of tasks in there and not think much else about it. It’s a terrible way of thinking because our brain will get overwhelmed when there is too many things on the list.
It’s easier for us to get into something called chunking. That is breaking tasks down into sections and being mindful of how much time it takes to do tasks.
For example, on a good day, I can complete three or four major tasks. A lot of the time those tasks for me are writing articles for myself or for clients. I know how long these generally take me and I’m able to plan out my day accordingly.
Beyond that, you also want to be considering outside commitments as well. Many people take up a lot of their time beyond working on themselves. You want to be sure that you have some balance and aren’t taking more than what you can handle. Use the same strategy and think about how much time you’ll need in order to make something worthwhile.
For example, I can go to the gym since it takes up only an hour or so of my time on most days. It’s not a huge inconvenience since it brings me closer to my health goals and doesn’t disrupt my work.
Stop These Bad Habits
Bad habits are everywhere, but they all contain lessons and potential for you to grow into someone better. In this sense, bad habits have a silver lining to them that I like. That’s not to say you should be actively seeking out bad habits, but if there are some in your life, take some time now to overcome them.
You may find new paths, opportunities, and growth in them that you never could’ve thought possible.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon