Teen Post: Getting to know bad habits and steps to breaking them


Bad habits are little comfort zones that we create to help us cope with a difficulty. We accidentally stumble upon a cozy patch which we then become afraid to let go. So if it really is comforting why is it bad? Didn’t you hear what I just said?” Afraid to let go?” Bad habits are bad because it is incredibly restrictive. They are bonds of slavery we have thrust upon ourselves.

I am not talking about addiction. Addiction is a disorder and bad habits must not be mixed up with them. Bad habits can be broken if we put our minds to it. Addiction on the other hand, requires professional or medical help. Right now, I am not going there at all.

In early schooling years, fibbing, rudeness, picking nose or nail-biting are some bad habits. With good parenting they are most likely to get out of it before they get into teenage.

For teenagers though, the most noticeable bad habits are the using of cuss words and inappropriate gesturing. It is so common that it feels like it’s ok.

I want to elaborate on some of the other bad habits that get talked about amongst parents alright, but not so much among the younger lots.

# Procrastination

You know you have to turn in your homework at the end of the week but your brain says ” I am so not in the mood” or ” I don’t know where to begin”. You don’t think it’s so bad because you always save yourself from humiliation or self loathing just before the deadline. What would you do if there was no such deadline?

# Unscheduled sleep patterns 

You know that if you don’t rescue yourself from the habit of procrastinating, then you may have to pull all nighters at some point, right?

It’s not that you care less for sleep. You already know that it’s invaluable because when your alarm clock rings at 6 am all you want to do is pull the blanket over your head and plead…” God! just a few more minutes!!”

Yes, you might want to blame your sleep woes on melatonin, the sleep hormones for playing pranks on your ‘going to bed’ schedule. So then you think since you are not yet sleepy, you might as well check your phones or play a video game. Bad habit? Oh yeah! If you do nothing about it you are in grave danger of not letting your growth hormones to kick-start. You don’t want that, do you?

# Staying in denial 

You’ve just been ditched by your BFF or you’ve lost student council elections that you worked hard for or are ignored suddenly by your classmates and you believe you are unaffected by it.

You refuse to acknowledge your problem, because you think it will save you from pain. However, you are beginning to throw yourself into the realm of  psychological complexities.

If you are consistently doing this, it’s a bad habit you need to immediately get out of. Denial prevents you from getting help, which may lead to devastating long-term consequences.

Staying invisible   

There is always the kid who does not speak, does not move from her place in class, who is neither the best performer nor the worst. Everyday is the same and she remains unnoticed, blending into  the furniture around her.She feels like she looking AT something from the outside. Always feeling unloved.

If she is invisible it’s because she lacks confidence. What she does not know is that if she cared to build her confidence she just might open the door of immense possibilities. Having the confidence to speak your mind is a huge opportunity.

Trying too much to be visible 

 You have seen the people pleaser. You have seen the bully. There is the guy who invades another’s private space like it were his own. Being ‘invited’ means nothing to him. He is simply annoying. He finds it hard to notice changes around him. This is the person who tries too much. He also lacks confidence. He needs to learn to tone down and stop making it all about himself.

# Bad eating habits 

What’s going on in your mind when you think it’s ok to skip breakfast? You think sleep is important. Dress up is way too important. When there is a time crunch in the morning, the least priority would then be breakfast, right? What’s the point of learning about balanced diet since grade 1 if you won’t apply your wisdom to real life?” – All mom’s of the world 🙂

Girls need 2,200 calories and boys need 2,600 calories per day which include veggies, fruits, nuts, proteins, whole grains, dairy and the wee bit of oils needed to cook food. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that. And junk food? Even my five year old neighbour  knows that it’s bad.

# Unwillingness to exercise  

It’s usually because you are distracted by too much technology, or have nothing to motivate you or there is a lack of access to sports facility/equipment, right? That’s sad because if you were like the couple of girls I know, you would use the time to chat with friends to walk around your residential block. Real friendships are built when you have real physical activities to do together.

Keeping self or personal surroundings untidy

Always facing a time crunch? Over worked? Having too much stuff ? You must be someone who does not care about appearances because those who do, think that they make an impression on those they meet within seconds after meeting. They think their personalities are reflected in the way they present their living quarters. You don’t mind waiting for ever to be taken seriously because what you are from within is what matters. right? 😛

I could go on but I am guessing that you have got my point by now. So how do you break the bad habit? Here’s my idea :

step 1: Know you have one.

step 2: Realize when it’s done or  just after.

step 3: Identify your trigger.

step 4:  Think of a substitute gesture, words , or routine to replace, one that makes your personality shine.

step 5: Catch yourself as soon as the trigger presents itself.

step 6: Practice! Practice! Practice!

It only takes one week of conscientious effort to break your habit where you know you have stopped it. However you need to be careful when you get to this stage because it takes a longer to replace it with a good one. It differs from person to person.

Reinvent yourself. Breaking bad habits and replacing them with new good ones will help you increase your value and lead you to a better and more positive future.


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