This year got off to a bit of a rocky start for me because I was so consumed with being denied a promotion and my emotions were way out of whack. But I didn’t let that stop me from trying to find the positives in a glum situation. I shifted my attention away from the disappointing present and put it back towards the future and what I need to do in order to get there.
Since my mind is now focused on making the most of 2013 by keeping things simple, it got me wondering why are bad habits so hard to break? There’s always at least a few goals that I can’t accomplish each year, and it’s usually because of some weakness of mine that I still haven’t been able to overcome.
Why Are Bad Habits So Hard To Break?
I wasn’t always the type of person who used to acknowledge my own weaknesses and faults. I had this stubborn, teenage mentality that I knew exactly what I was doing and didn’t need to change anything about myself. Even though I was a teenager for most of the time I had this oblivious attitude, it spilled into my 20’s too which was unfortunate.
As I continue getting older though, and have discovered that our 30’s are better than 20’s, I’ve come to grips with the fact that trying to run away or ignore bad habits hurts a lot of people. When we’re unwilling to change, not only do we hurt our loved ones, friends, and colleagues, we also really hurt ourselves.
Key Reasons We Can’t Kick Those Bad Habits
- Laziness & Procrastination
- Bad Time Management
- Roadblocks & Inefficiencies
- Lack Of Motivation
- Fear & Anxiety
- Budget Constraints
- Weak Levels Of Will Power
- Plain Ol’ Ignorance Or Denial
I struggle a lot with time management and inefficiencies. I think my motivation levels to change and break my bad habits are high, but I have trouble with execution. My weaknesses with focusing really slow down the rate in which I complete tasks, so I’m often fighting fatigue and self frustration.
Sometimes I spend more time worrying about all the things I need to do instead of just picking one thing and getting it done right then and there. I try to pay close attention to prioritization now so that I start chipping away at the difficult tasks instead of letting those loom and only working on the easy stuff.
List Of Common Bad Habits
There are so many bad habits that we can pick up, and we’ve all had struggles with trying to shake them off. No matter how young or old we are, being open to change is the first step to improvement. Let’s see how many of these bad habits have impacted your life whether from your own doing or from someone close to you.
- Not exercising regularly
- Drinking too much
- Being addicted to caffeine
- Watching too much TV
- Eating too much junk food
- Bad posture
- Drug abuse
- Texting and driving
- Social awkwardness
- Lack of patience
- Denying mistakes and weaknesses
- Drinking soda
- Losing things
- Lack of responsibility
- Breaking your budget
- Farting/burping/spitting in public
- Nagging and complaining
- Not washing your hands
- Eating too much sugar
- Biting your nails
- Illegible handwriting
- Being selfish
- Talking with food in your mouth
- Not being able to say no
- Poor office etiquette
- Quitting too soon
- Not flossing 1-2x daily
- Being overly critical
- Texting during meals
- Not letting go
- Lack of focus
- Talking too much/too little
And the list could go on and on and on! There are so many obstacles, addictions, and flawed tendencies that have negative impacts on our health, careers, personal finance goals, and well being. Once we recognize our flaws and weaknesses though, we are one step closer to breaking our bad habits.
Untemplaters, what are your thoughts on why are bad habits so hard to break? Are you working on overcoming any this year? What are some other things that you’d put on the list of common bad habits?
Copyright 2013, updated 2016. Original content authorized only to appear on Untemplater.com. Thank you for reading!
Some great tips here that you and others have covered. A couple of other things – we are our own worst enemy, self-policing is very tenuous at best – get a buddy who will hold to accountable, especially for those habits that you have in common.
Also, fidgeting is not a bad habit – it’s been shown to be a contributor to a high NEAT value (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) – which helps burn calories more so than sitting on a couch 🙂
Yeah, it helps to have someone keep us in check and to motivate each other. That’s interesting what you bring up about fidgeting. I never would have guessed what NEAT stood for so thanks for writing it out. 😉
I love this calculator. To me, bad habits are mainly hard to break because we lack motivation. I am highly motivated in the money department, and no habit was hard to give up. But the exercise department, as much as I hear the words ”I want to swim, hike, run more” coming out of my mouth, the action is not there. The day something gets triggered in my brain, it may become like money management.
Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin says
Thank you for the calculator a very nifty tool! You are right bad habits are hard to shake and from my experience the longer you engage in them the harder they are to break. As we get older I assume we strengthen in our ways whether they’re good or bad.
Kathleen, Frugal Portland says
Bad habits are hard to break because we don’t feel like we’re in control of them. I got sick last week and haven’t had coffee in 7 days, my longest streak. I realized it’s much easier than I thought to get on top of my vices. I want to enjoy coffee every now and again without falling back into its grip.
This struck a nerve with me as I am currently considering giving up my raging caffeine addiction. I drink coffee but I am more concerned about how much diet coke I drink. I really want to kick the habit. Lame excuse for today- we are going on vacation in a few weeks and I don’t want to spend it without diet coke….so I’m waiting until we get back to try to quit. SEE?!?!?!? How can I even argue with that kind of sad rationalization?
Soda is hard because it’s a combo of caffeine and sugar. Although, diet sodas have less caffeine than regular. In any case, quitting cold turkey is probably going to be hard. I’d suggest cutting your intake back in stages. If you’re used to drinking 3 cans 3 times a day, start cutting back with 2 cans at 3 intervals, then 1 can at 3 intervals, 1/2 can at 2 intervals…until you get to 0. You can do it!!
Bad habits are hard to break because change is difficult! It takes almost as much or more effort to make a new habit too. Either way, you need motivation to make a change. It is one of the reasons, people break their New Year’s Resolutions. It takes 21 straight days of change to establish or change a habit.
That’s an interesting point about 21 days of change. I haven’t heard that before but I can see how that could be true. One week is definitely not enough. Two weeks is great progress, and three weeks I guess is what makes it stick.
Money Beagle says
Once you develop a routine, it’s second nature to follow that routine. This holds for bad habits. It’s all about forcing yourself to change your routine or develop a new one that can help you supercede the bad habits.
Routines are easy because they are comfortable and we don’t have to think. Change is hard and not a lot of fun when it comes to breaking bad habits.
Edward Antrobus says
One reason bad habits are so hard to break is because a habit is something you have (consciously or unconsciously) trained your body to do to the point that it is automatic. Automatic behaviors are easy to continue. Creating new good habits takes time and practice, but is simply a batter of training new routines into your subconscious. But breaking a bad habit isn’t about training a new behavior. It’s about un-training an old one. And I think it takes a lot more conscious effort to not perform a subconscious behavior than it does to perform a conscious one.
Yes “un-training an old one” is right. We can get so stuck in our ways and it takes a lot of effort to change.
Financial Samurai says
I have a bad, bad habit of always responding to everything that may irk me. For 2013, I want to let go and let things go like water off a duck’s back. Other than eating too many In N’ Out cheeseburgers, I think my my bad habits are pretty much under control.
I like that visualization of water off a duck’s back. Letting go sounds like a good goal. In N’ Out cheeseburgers are hard to resist, and so are the fries!