Common Bad Habits and How to Quit Them

 

    We all have them: Little bad habits seem to take over our lives sometimes. I know how hard it can be to try to quit them, but, fortunately, I’m here to help. Here are the worst bad habits I suffer from and the ways that can cut down on those self-destructive tendencies.

 

 

1) Putting Off Going to the Gym

 

    It’s always rough when you sit down and realize it’s been almost a year since you last went to the gym. Time gets away from you and all of a sudden you just “forgot” to work out for 10 months straight. I find that every time I almost go, I remember how much I detest exercise and decide not to put myself through that misery. Or, it falls to the bottom of my priority list, since going to the gym doesn't have a deadline, and the only person depending on me to go is me. For those of us who can’t afford a personal trainer to keep us motivated, a great way to make sure you go to the gym is to plan it into your schedule at the perfect time. I’m not somebody who can work out as soon as I wake up, so my advice is to plan to hit the gym after a commitment you’ve made that will require you to get out of the house already. Make sure this activity does not require a lot of mental or physical energy, like school or work, or involves eating a ton (no post-brunch workouts). Pencil in your workout after a doctor’s appointment—as long as you didn’t do a blood test or anything—or getting your nails done—make sure you wait until they’re dry—when you’ve already set aside some time for yourself. You’ll be awake and energized, and once you get back into the gym routine, you’ll be more motivated to go back more often! Pretty soon this will be you:

 

 

 

2) Biting Your Nails/Cuticles/Lips

 

    I have this habit in my repertoire. Though it can be a symptom of anxiety, sometimes biting your nails, or the skin from your cuticles and lips can be a subconscious thing that we’ve gotten so used to doing that it’s just a reflex at this point.  As a fidgety person, this habit is soothing and satisfying to me, but it makes my hands and mouth look wretched, and can downright hurt if you go too far. There are nail polishes you can buy to make your fingers taste bad and hopefully prevent you from biting your nails, but I find that just painting my nails with regular nail polish does the trick. I’m less inclined to give into my habit since I don’t want to ruin my pretty nails, and getting bits of nail polish in your mouth is not pleasant. Splurging on a gel manicure occasionally will make it extra hard to tear those nails apart due to the hard coating. As for your cuticles, wearing gloves around the house (or all the time, if you want) will prevent your mouth from meeting your cuticles. Another option is applying cuticle oil, which keeps your cuticles healthy and less tempting to bite. The trick to quitting the impulsive need of biting your lip skin is to keep them moisturized so often that there’s nothing to tear off. I’m constantly applying chapstick to my lips; it lasts forever, and as long as you don't lose it, your lips will forever thank you. You can also try chewing gum for all of three of these problems, but the more solutions you can try at once, the better.

 

 

3) Always Running Late

 

    Look, I used to be a punctual person, but in the last few years, my track record of arriving places on time has plummeted. It’s usually only by a few minutes, but those few minutes could easily be spared. At the core of my bad habit of running late, is the even more frustrating bad habit of never giving myself enough time to get ready. My concept of time is not terrible, but my love of laying in bed is almost fatal. If you’re always running late in the mornings, I recommend planning your outfit the night before and preparing for possible drastic weather changes by having alterations in mind for things like your shoes and jacket. Something else you can do the night before to prevent a panicked frenzy in the morning is making any snacks or meals that you’ll be bringing with you for the day. Cutting out cooking time, or even just washing fruit, will save plenty of your morning for other tasks. Also, if you take public transit of any kind, plan to catch the earlier bus/metro than you normally would; that way, if you do catch it, you’ll be pleasantly early, and if you don’t, you’ll still catch the next one which will get you there right on time, setting yourself up for success either way. Try not to check social media before you leave the house—or at least in the middle of getting ready—to avoid long periods of distraction, too.

 

 

4) Procrastinating Your School Work

 

    This is probably the hardest habit to quit on this list and the one with the harshest consequences. It’s always the same routine: you don’t want to start your work, you distract yourself with something entertaining, you panic because you have so much to do, you don’t even know where to begin, and you cram last minute and end up with a less than satisfactory result. I’ve found that the main reason I dread doing my work is because I think of everything in big picture form; if I have a 10 page essay to write, I’m thinking about all 10 pages, and not considering the fact that I’ll likely only get a few paragraphs done that day and that’s okay. When we think about the amount of work we have to do, we don’t do any of it, but if we consider our work in manageable portions a day, it becomes manageable. Starting your assignments, whether it’s writing an essay, or reading a book, or doing research for a paper, is never as scary as it sounds. Figure out your thesis and write an outline, or read a certain amount of pages and do a certain amount of research, then leave it be until the next day.  Going hand in hand with this strategy is dividing your work into different types of focus. Getting one section of your essay done in a day, followed by reading for a different class, feels less exhausting and stressful than focusing on the whole of one assignment a day. You’ll likely still get the same amount of work done, but the breaking up of writing with reading, or whatever you might be doing, is refreshing and requires a different type of concentration, making you more inclined actually to accomplish your tasks.

 

    Quitting bad habits can be tough, but there is nothing more satisfying than finding solutions that work for you. I hope you nail-biters or procrastinators—or both, nobody’s judging—out there will have some luck with this advice, and everytime you find yourself giving into these temptations, give it another read!