30 Worst Bad Habits That You Need to Break ASAP
What’s your worst habit? Is it leaving the empty yogurt container on the kitchen floor? Maybe it’s keeping your used dental floss for an inordinate amount of time. Or perhaps you’re like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way.
Well, unlike that Victorian-era supernanny, the rest of us could use some serious improvement from time to time, especially if you do any of these 30 jaw-dropping things that are among the worst bad habits out there. But remember, any habit can be broken, and you’ll be glad you ditched out on any or all of these.
Picking Your Nose
We get it, that dried booger isn’t going anywhere, no matter how much you wish it would. If only you could just reach up there and grab the thing and yank it out! But then you remember that you’re at a fancy four-course dinner with family and friends — perhaps someone’s birthday party.
Not only is nose picking unacceptable in public places, it can actually be associated with health risks like spreading bacteria and viruses. It can even cause damage to the tissues inside the nose.
Playing With Your Phone Among Company
Smartphones have made us connected to everything all the time. It’s gotten so bad that people have no problem tapping their phone screens during meals, when entertaining company or even in class or at the movies!
Seriously, put the damn thing away. It’s guaranteed that whatever you think is super important can wait a half hour.
Biting Your Nails
Fun fact of the day: Fingernails are made of a substance called keratin, which has a penchant for continuing to grow out well past the edge of your fingertips. You gotta trim and file down those suckers — but not with your teeth!
It’s gross to the max, and all those nail trimmings then have to go somewhere, so you’re in the awful position of either spitting them out or … you know. Furthermore, biting one’s nails indicates nervousness, and doing so shows you’re not comfortable as you chomp away.
Constantly Being Late
“I ran out of gas.” “My car wouldn’t start.” “Boy, the traffic was horrible.” “I overslept.” “Aliens once again!”
Whatever the excuse, being late is just plain rude. And we’d wager that for every time the car did in fact break down, there are 99 other times when you didn’t respect the other person’s time enough to get there on time. Don’t be that person! Be on time or don’t bother at all.
Forgetting People’s Names
Boy wasn’t it great that you got to see Mike again? Except you called him “Matt,” “Spike” and, strangely enough, also “Benjamin.” He was much too polite to remind you that you’ve met not less than three times prior, you previously spoke at length and your girlfriends even planned a group outing for next Thursday.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, your girlfriend’s name isn’t “Sandy” or even “Randy” but Elizabeth. How’d you get that one wrong?
They don’t call them deadlines because you’ll literally die if you don’t meet them, but what will suffer is your reputation. Getting ahead of your work — whether it’s for school, home or the office — not only allows you more time to goof off on TikTok (shh!) but also gives you a buffer if (more likely when) a new project suddenly comes up that requires your immediate attention.
Plus, the longer you put something off, the more stressed out you’ll be when the deadline approaches, and the more likely you’ll put in subpar work. If you’re in school, you might get bad grades from a teacher; if your boss is paying attention, expect a meeting soon with HR.
Dwelling on the Past or Worrying About the Future
Hey, wasn’t it great back in the day? Hey, isn’t it going to be awesome someday when we get there? No and no.
People who can’t stop talking about the past or the future can be exhausting to be around, especially because they just can’t seem to live in the present, the here and now. If you’re constantly dwelling on the past, you’ll get depressed. And pondering the future leads only to anxiety. Live in the now, and do it now!
But if you need some guidance, here are some tips on how to combat anxiety.
Swearing Up a Storm
What the beeping blooping bleeding blumping is the matter with you and your sailor’s mouth? Granted, we all need to blow off steam, and the vast majority of us let loose some four-letter words now and again to express our frustration, but when dirty words become the norm rather than the exception, you run the risk of alienating people who maybe don’t enjoy hearing such talk.
It’s best to try and keep it clean, especially if young ears are present.
Hey, let me tell you about the time—
Oh, my mother isn’t well—
My children are going to—
Wouldn’t you like to know how those three sentences ended? If so, then stop interrupting other people until they naturally reach an endpoint in their speech. Even if you have the most amazing thing ever to say, it can wait a little bit. Just a little bit. Take a breath and wait your turn to talk.
See how easy that was?
Not Focusing on the Task at Hand
We get it, the internet might be the absolute worst thing to ever come along for anyone with ADHD. The problem is, using the internet as an excuse for not focusing on what you need to get done is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it might not be the net; it could be TV, a magazine, a dog running across the yard or even a funny spot on the carpet you never noticed before.
Whatever it is, focusing on it is keeping you from accomplishing what you need to. Retrain your focus, and the results will speak for themselves.
Ignoring a Medical Problem
That pain in your abdomen isn’t keeping you in bed, but it’s been there for several days. Maybe it’s getting harder for you to eat or focus or sleep. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies start to break down and rebel against us, and it’s natural to ignore an ouchie or a pustule as long as possible and hope whatever it is goes away.
But maybe this time it won’t. Perhaps it’s just indigestion, but anything that hangs around needs medical attention before you have a bigger problem.
Not Taking Walks
Thanks to the pandemic, a great many of us are now home-based workers. That means we don’t commute in a car, which is good, but it also means we don’t walk between the car or train station or bus stop to the office, which is bad.
And being at home makes it harder to take a break from “the office,” even if it’s to walk the block for 15 minutes. Walking is so good for us, so whether you have a yard or a sidewalk or even a small apartment, make sure to get up out of your chair every so often and put those walking shoes on. The health benefits are undeniable.
Not Saying ‘Thank You’
These two words are very simple — so simple in fact that you really don’t have any excuse not to use them often and with a smile. We know, the world can be a hard place, and it’s true that there are a lot of people out there who are out only for themselves, but not everyone is like that.
In fact, even someone who is ostensibly a jerk is capable of generosity now and again. Whoever it comes to you from, the polite thing to do is say “thank you.”
Talking With Your Mouth Full
Just don’t do this. Whatever it is that you have to say, it can wait. Chew your food thoroughly, without rushing it, and then swallow it down.
Then, just to make double sure, use some water to ensure there are no leftovers behind before you respond to that question that came from across the table right as you took a bite into the frozen banana guacamole pie. And for the love of creation, do not pick out scraps from between your teeth in front of an audience!
Not Washing Your Hands After Using the Bathroom
Chances are, no one will know that you didn’t disinfect after taking care of business, but nonetheless it’s the right thing to do, especially if you’re going to be shaking hands or handling food (gross!).
It takes about 10 to 20 seconds to wash your hands with soap and hot water, so you can’t say you don’t have the time; you do. Furthermore, in the age of COVID, this is a habit that needs to be broken forevermore.
This one is largely directed at teens and men in their 20s. Whether you’re lazy or forgetful, showering is one of those things that is not only a requisite of proper hygiene but a service to society.
People can really reek after a few hours — especially in those hot summer months when sweating is a given. The longer you let this one go, the more trouble you’ll have getting dates, a job or even someone to wait on you at Chili’s.
Talking Behind Someone’s Back
We all love gossip. That’s why there’s an entire television genre built around whispering about what celebrity did what with whom last week. Thing is, gossip can be not only crass but harmful.
If you have a problem with someone, it’s best to discuss it with them directly rather than spreading rumors or even lies — knowingly or otherwise. Your word should be your bond, and trustworthiness is worth its weight in gold.
Not Asking Questions During a Conversation
William Shakespeare famously said that all the world's a stage, but that doesn’t give you unlimited license to be in constant monologue. Conversation is not only an artform but also demonstrates how you value the thoughts and insights of others.
If you’re only ever talking about yourself and never asking anybody any questions, it’s a good chance they will soon enough excuse themselves and just as soon converse with a brick wall.
Coughing or Sneezing Without Covering Your Mouth
This was gross long before COVID ruined pretty much everything, but it’s doubly or even triply wrong now with a pandemic among us that is spread by, well, coughing! Not covering up your piehole when expelling some mucus (gross, right?) isn’t just unsanitary, it’s highly uncouth.
Germs aren’t our friends, and letting them rip from between your lips at the speed of sound will spread COVID, the common cold or just about anything else you had for breakfast.
Everyone already knows that walking semi-slumped over is bad for your posture, but it also makes you look, well, kind of ridiculous. Standing at full height, eyes forward and using a powerful forward stride projects confidence, and tells everyone “Hey, this person really has their stuff together!”
Not only is slouching bad for your posture, it can actually have other health effects, including poor sleep and even incontinence.
Not Keeping Your Promises
Hey, remember all those times you told Chris from the bakery who loves comic books that you would take him to see the new Marvel movie experience at Super Fun Land? Well, spoiler alert, you still haven’t taken Chris to the amusement park.
At first, he reminded you but then stopped asking. Now you might get a little something “extra” with your bread on Sundays. OK, this is a fictitious example, but it goes to the heart of keeping your word. After all, not doing so won’t make anyone want to help you out in turn.
Not Looking Someone Directly in the Eyes During Conversation
No less a well-known person than Richard Nixon was reported to have been so awkward around new people that he would stare at the floor — and this was when he was president! Granted, Tricky Dick’s “bad habits” came back to bite him, but you don’t have to be lying to Congress to know that not looking someone in the eye during conversation is seriously disrespectful.
We promise you the linoleum isn’t that interesting!
Correcting Other People’s Grammar
Are you that guy who can’t resist telling someone off when they end a sentence with a preposition? Something along the lines of “Oh, I’m coming with.”
While it’s not considered “proper” English, a lot of people speak that way; they also place an adverb before the verb, which probably grinds your gears, too. Heck, you might be a double-PhD in English grammar, but being the syntax police can be seriously obnoxious. Take this lesson with you … or rather, take it with!
Life is hard, especially during a pandemic, which naturally made everyone want to pour an extra-tall glass of vodka. In fact, binge drinking was way up in the first months of lockdown when everyone was stuck at home with Netflix.
But alcohol abuse has been with us long before COVID, streaming and Zoom meetings, and drinking to excess on a regular or even semi-regular basis can have deleterious effects on your health, relationships and finances. No one is saying it’s teetotaling or nothing, but cutting back will do you a world of good.
Maintaining Toxic Friendships
We once had a friend whom we’ll call Ted. Every time Ted was around, he broke something, he hurt someone and/or the police got called. Furthermore, Ted was fond of laying on the guilt trip whenever we had other plans, and he never missed an opportunity to make fun of us and put us down in front of other people.
Finally, we stopped hanging out with Ted entirely, and doubtless, he’s now making life miserable for other “friends.” Cut these people out of your life! To quote Joan Jett, “You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.”
Thanks to diners, all-night drive throughs and 24/7 convenience stores, you can find food at any hour of the day or night. But experts warn that midnight snacking is incredibly unhealthy and can lead to weight gain and problems associated with excessive BMI.
Let’s be real, no one who goes looking for food in the middle of the night is pursuing carrots and hummus. There’s a reason Taco Bell remains open at 2 a.m.
Always Saying ‘Yes’
It’s trite but true that the word “no” is one of the shortest but greatest words in the English language. While it’s good to help out other people, there is such a thing as giving too much of yourself.
Firstly, there are only so many hours in the day, and there’s only so much you can take on. Plus, the more you take on for other people, the less energy you’ll have for each individual task or person. Soon you’ll be of no use to anyone. Be kind to others, of course, but make informed choices about what you can do and what you can’t.
Cracking Your Joints
Is there any sound more awful than someone rolling their neck from side to side and making that horrible CRACK noise? Every time it happens, we half-expect the person to have broken their own neck or that it’ll get permanently stuck to one side.
The one and only place this sound should ever be heard is at the chiropractor’s office, period. Let the professional take care of it — and save the rest of us from having to listen.
Not Taking the Trash Out
Let’s call this one lady we knew Polly. Polly had a bathroom garbage can that not only was filled to overflowing, but the trash continued upward into a garbage pyramid about a half-foot past the trash bin lid.
Yet Polly never even thought to empty the bin, even as used tissues cascaded from the summit of Mt. Trashmore and built up a field of snot rangs on the bathroom floor. It’s gross, it smells, it’s unhygienic, and it’s just about the worst habit out there.
That is, except for...
We all know that smoking is pretty much the worst habit there is, especially if you have nonsmokers in your life. It’s not only horrid for your health but could drive away people in droves.
So, only continue doing it if you enjoy smelling like an ashtray, having tar-colored teeth and hacking up a lung in the morning.