It’s your constant companion, greatest helper or heaviest burden. It will push you onward or drag you down to failure, and is at your command. It’s easily managed — you must merely be firm with it. After a few repetitions, it comes automatically. It is the servant of all great people; and alas, of all failures as well. Those who are failures, it has made failures. Although not a machine, it works with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human being. You may run it for profit or turn it for ruin. It can make you or break you. What is the answer to this famous, anonymously written riddle? The answer is “habit,” and this post is about the top 10 bad habits that people have trouble kicking.
Can you relate to these bad habits?
When is the last time you went shopping to feel better? Maybe you had a stressful day at work or your kids were particularly rambunctious and you called some friends together for a shopping spree. You might have even prefaced the occasion by announcing that you didn’t have money to spend but just felt like browsing. Two hours later, you were swiping your credit card like an expert ninja shopper. Sound familiar? According to recent surveys, shopping to release stress ranks among the top 10 bad habits people say they have trouble breaking.
Incidentally, racking up credit card debt is another problem habit a lot of people have. A partner habit of stress release shopping is eating fast food. It’s understandable, right? Carrying all those bags and walking around mega malls makes you hungry. You might love it while it’s going down, but if you later feel bloated and unhealthy, it might be a sign that it’s time for a change. If you find yourself asking, “Why did I eat that?” several times a week, it’s definitely another sign.
Some bad habits are cultural norms
When I became a parent 35 years ago, I quickly realized I had some bad habits that needed kicking to the curb. Swearing was one of them. To be honest, I was the type of person who had to force swear words into my vocabulary. It was one of those things that “everyone did” so I tried to do in order to fit in. Smoking was another bad habit I had back then. When I became responsible for another person’s life and overall health and well-being, I changed.
Have you ever noticed that you often don’t realize how bad, bad habits are until you break them? Then, you look back and think, “Ugh. I can’t believe I used to do that.” That’s how I feel about smoking and swearing. Some people try to convince themselves such habits are harmless. I’ve had people say, “They’re just words. It’s no big deal.” when I ask them to refrain from using profanity around me or my children. If kicking these particular bad habits are your goal, the first step is to admit that it does matter.
Some more unsavory issues
Watching reality TV can become addictive; do you know that? It’s actually a big problem for many people. It’s a type of voyeurism in some cases, especially when the style of the show involves deviance, gross topics, crime or overt sexual issues. You’re definitely not alone in your struggle if this is a habit you’d like to break. If you don’t relate to the habits on the top 10 list, these issues, in the top 50, might ring a bell.
Many adults struggle with unsavory habits such as nose-picking or chewing their fingernails. Both issues can have adverse health effects, especially if the person in question is not diligent about hand-washing. The habits mentioned so far in this post can be problematic but they are less worrisome than some other issues. If you struggle with serious bad habits that are addictive, such as pornography or substance abuse, you might need additional support to help you conquer it.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Bad habits can hold you back, bring you down and keep success at bay. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has never developed a bad habit in life, however. Some people work hard to conceal such issues because they’d be embarrassed if others knew.
Making up your mind to develop good habits is a first, logical step to take to overcome the bad ones. Enlisting help from a trusted friend, spouse, loved one or life coach is a good way to seek accountability, which can also help you achieve your goals.