Personal Development

A List of Habits to Break in 2023

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We all have bad habits that can be hard to break, from eating junk food late at night to spending too much time on our phones. But here’s the thing – if we want lasting success in any area of our lives, those bad habits must go!

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of 31 bad habits and how you can bid adieu in 2023.

From unnecessary stress-eating to watching just one more show before bedtime (we know who you are!), these 21st century no-nos are sure to make it onto your hit list this year. So let’s break out the our resolve for commitment and get ready for some seriously good change!

Why Are These Common Habits, Considered “Bad”

If a habit suits your lifestyle and you enjoy it, can it really be bad? Ultimately, you are the only one who can answer that question for yourself.

For the sake of this bad habits list we are viewing these as negative repetitive behaviors that get in the way of your overall enjoyment of life. They include bad habits that adversely affect health, employment, and relationships, and break laws. These habits are objectively bad. (IE: smoking causes cancer)

Then there are those that are bad habits that are socially frowned upon because they fly in the face of established customs or simply just annoy people.

Finally we include some bad habits that keep you from evolving into abetter version of yourself.

So let’s jump into the list of bad habits.

Bad Habits Affecting Health

Many of us are guilty of having common bad habits that slowly affect our health over time. From smoking to forgetting to floss, our bad habit list can quickly become extensive. Skipping meals, eating unhealthy snacks and drinking soda are common examples of selfish indulgences that don’t put our well-being first.

With so many good habits we can use to replace these bad ones available, why don’t we start improving the quality of our lives by nixing some of these common – and sometimes silly – bad habits?

#1. Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is the top of the bad habit list because it should be. It is dangerous in the long term as well as being costly. Every smoker I know wishes they never started.

So put that last cigarette out, and you’ll be thanking yourself for long term consequences! Your life depends on it – with serious long-term health effects like oral cancer, gum infections and bad breath from inhaling nicotine, it isn’t worth a few seconds of pleasure in the long run.

When it comes to breaking bad habits, quitting smoking is one of the tougher wins. But don’t worry- there are ways to help your journey.

I remember when my friend quit cold turkey: true determination and a changed lifestyle allowed him to keep himself away from cigarettes for over 12 years.

If you’re looking for additional support, the CDC suggests nicotine patches or e-cigarettes – whatever works best for you. With respiratory cancers already claiming thousands of lives each year – don’t let yours become part of that tally: quit smoking now!

[Quitting smoking can be tough. If you need help breaking this bad habit, or any others, check out this step-by-step guide to break bad habits.]

#2. Break The Vaping Addiction

With vaping, your bad habit can help you out a bit — while you’re technically still doing something bad, it’s much better than puffing away on cigarettes full-time.

It is a recommended alternative to smoking by the CDC, but that doesn’t mean it is healthy or without drawbacks. Studies are increasingly showing more negatives from vaping and E-Cigs. Why expose yourself to all of those harmful elements when you could just quit vaping altogether instead?

Take a step in the right direction and break away from the bad habit of vaping. Replacing vaping with something else healthy like taking walks outside or meditating can help distract and keep your mind off it. Doing something calming when the cravings hit can be helpful in decreasing the urge to grab a vape, so try it out!

#3. Not Brushing Your Teeth Daily

A person’s other bad habits say a lot about them, too, but poor oral hygiene may be the most glaring sign.

If you’re not brushing your pearly whites at least twice daily and flossing, you are putting your health on the line.

By not cleaning and rinsing your mouth regularly with mouthwash, you are at risk of developing cavities, gum disease, gingivitis and other illnesses. Not only that but your dating luck may suffer too: no one likes bad breath!

Besides creating an unattractive first impression, a lack of proper oral hygiene has been linked to other diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Don’t let other bad habits or convenience get in the way of something as important as taking care of your teeth – it only takes two minutes!

#4. Unhealthy Eating

Let’s face it, eating unhealthy is more than just a bad habit – it’s more like an addiction!

Whether it’s skipping breakfast, eating fast food more often than more nourishing meals, eating too much red meat or indulging in lots of sugar and junk food, more of us than we care to disclose are guilty of such bad habits. But here’s the thing – these habits can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Unhealthy eating habits need to be overcome with healthy eating habits

So if you’re ready to rewire your brain for healthy eating habits, start by removing anything that triggers cravings for fast food and replace sugary drinks with water instead.

No more being lazy – it’s time to make healthier food choices and move away from those bad habits and eat healthier.

Further Articles to Help Start Healthy Eating Habits:

#5. Alcohol Abuse

For many people, the occasional beer is no problem. But for others too much alcohol can be a bad habit you NEED to break, ASAP.

Although small quantities of alcohol can be beneficial, too much of a good thing (or an evil thing, depending on your mode of thinking) is never a great idea. Not only do you risk losing your health, but if you’re like me and there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy that don’t require money being thrown down the drain with every round of drinks. You could save enough money by drinking in moderation (or not at all) to enjoy some fun hobbies.

If you think you might be drinking too much, I strongly encourage you to try to quit for a while. Try something like a “dry January“. If this is an impossible task for you, you may have a problem and really need to break this bad habit, forever.

#6. Emotional Eating

Another common bad habit to break is stress eating. Research shows that emotional eating stems from stress, grief, loneliness, and anxiety.

If unchecked, it can lead to overeating, weight gain, guilt and lowered self-esteem.

Let’s break this bad habit before it becomes a full blown eating disorder by paying attention to what triggers our cravings and then distracting ourselves with more constructive activities. And who knows? A walk in the park or a chat with a friend may just be what we need to break out of our rut!

#7. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Trying to pull all-nighters might be trendy and, in theory, make you look pleasantly busy, but research suggests late sleeping is one of the most common bad habits.

It’s understandable that we spend hours late night staring at a computer screen, playing on your cell phone or watching late-night TV shows, but it’s time to take off your late-night glasses and get some rest!

Go to bed early and give yourself the recommended 6-9 hours of sleep for adults. Not only will you feel energized and refreshed in the morning and able to tackle your day with a healthy spirit.

If you have trouble sleeping even when you go to bed at a good time, here are some resources to help you get more sleep:

#8. Skipping Lunch Breaks

How does it benefit you to skip lunch? Generally, employers don’t pay you to take a lunch break. Even if that were the case, the habit of skipping your mealtime can eventually affect your health. Perhaps you’re seeking admiration or promotion, and think you need to impress your boss with workaholic tactics.

Always remember that you are not indispensable. Eating your meals on time is a show of self-care. Taking breaks also allows you to move away from the stressful work environment to reset and return energized and focused.

#9. Not Exercising or Staying Active

Most adults have the same bad habits: staying up too late, eating unhealthy food, and let’s not forget everyone’s favorite –skipping exercise.

Of course it’s one of the most common bad habits to be lazy about, and can quickly become a slippery slope if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, it is never too late to start creating good habits. If you want to make sure you stay active and healthy, cut yourself some slack and don’t try to do massive blocks of exercise at once- break it down into small chunks of time here and there! It will all add up!

Socially Frowned Upon Bad Habits

Next up on our list of bad habits are the ones that are frowned upon by society. These habits aren’t excessively bad for your health (although some are mildly bad) but they may make you socially outcast.

Probably one of the universal ones is poor posture. Sitting slumped or slouched at the table isn’t viewed as being polite or professional, and at best might get you a gentle reminder from your parents or friends to sit up straight. At worst, it could be seen as a sign that you’re uninterested in whatever is going on around you.

Other socially unacceptable habits include leaving the toilet seat up, not making eye contact, nose picking, nail biting and spreading rumors such as gossiping and sharing other people’s secrets without permission.

Whether they’re silly or serious, these habits can all make us look uncouth and unlikable to others – so unless you intend on alienating yourself from society, it might be wise to keep them in check!

Let’s look at a handful in detail.

#10. Chewing Gum

I read an online article that dubbed gum chewing as a “vile” habit that enrages people who despise hearing the sound of people eating. This attitude may be a bit “much”, but habitually chewing gum for whatever reason isn’t the best practice.

There are really no plausible health benefits of chewing gum. You’re more likely to experience frequent cheek bites, sore jaw muscles, cavities, and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

If gum chewing is how you freshen your breath, consider powering up your oral hygiene routine and seeing your dentist regularly. Drink water instead if you’re on a diet and trying to avoid overeating. Good habits like drinking water are the perfect way to replace bad habits.

#11. Picking Your Nose In Public

Picking away at your nostrils in public or not isn’t attractive at all.

There’s a broad assumption that you’re picking boogers. What else could it be? Let’s not talk about the eating part. Even if it’s nose hair, there’s something about the habit that absolutely grosses people out.

Not only is it a dirty habit, but it’s also not healthy… and yet so many adults still do it. Regularly! They hypocritically scold their children for doing so, yet when they don’t think anyone is looking, the mining begins!

Whether you care what people think or not, it’s really not good for you. Sticking your fingers up your nasal cavity to clear out dried mucus pushes bacteria into your nostrils. This increases your risk of spreading flu viruses, nose bleeds, sores, and septum damage, among other things… making this one habit you need to kick to the curb—today.

#12. Biting Down On Hard Objects

Biting your nails, pens, pencils, or ice is a bad habit that is discouraged by dentists. You may not have realized the habit until now, since many people do it without thinking. The practice is often done to relieve stress or anxiety, but some people nibble the back of a pen or pencil while brainstorming for ideas.

Developing self-awareness and finding healthy ways to manage stress are helpful strategies to combat this tendency. What’s more, is that you may avoid damaging your teeth and avoid spending too much money on dental restoration.

#13. Showing Up Late

This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I go to great lengths to be on time and find it very rude when people are late. But its not just me. I can’t think of a boss or anyone else who enjoys it when people show up late. Why is that so? First off, tardiness conveys a lack of self-awareness on your part. Not to mention, it shows you’re not respectful of people’s time or employment rules regarding work hours.

Friends and loved ones might think it’s rude for you to frequently show up late, especially if you fail to give them a heads-up. Emergencies and other incidents do occur, but being late most of the time is a habit and you need to break this year.

Bad Habits Keeping Your From Being Your Best Self

Smoking tobacco or biting your nails are easy to see as a bad habits. But habits that simply keep you from being your “best” may be overlooked as bad habits.

Maybe you are content with your lot in life. Maybe you have all you desire and do not want to put in the effort of self improvement. If so, there is nothing wrong with that.

But for people who want more out of life. More success, happiness, better family life, etc. The bad habits in this section are essential to transform into good habits.

#14. Procrastination

Most of us delay tasks, according to Harvard Business Review. You might do this to avoid unpleasant or difficult tasks. Perhaps you’re thinking you should delay them and do the more pleasant tasks first. Eventually, those tasks never get done or are completed late.

Procrastination slows down production and can result in loss of financial deals and missed opportunities. Counteract the habit by creating a system to get uncomfortable tasks out of the way ASAP, right after very pressing matters. Think of it as a “delayed gratification” strategy.

Explore 7 Best Pomodoro Apps & Timers to Master Your Productivity.

#15. Perfectionism

If you can’t do it right, you’re not doing it at all? The all-or-nothing attitude is a reflection of perfectionism. No one and nothing is perfect. Fear of failure, fear of criticism, and competitiveness are among the reasons why some people become so-called “perfectionists.”

Like procrastination, wanting things to be flawless all the time can lead to a drop in performance and productivity. It can also lead to negative self talk which can harm your mental health.

Perfectionists may never get achieved and you end up feeling like a total failure.

To break this bad habit, set achievable goals, avoid procrastination, and reassure yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Explore 7 Best Pomodoro Apps & Timers to Master Your Productivity.

#16. Neglecting Yourself

Self-neglect is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, especially if you pour your all into caring for others. Dismissing your own hygiene or needs can come from a built-in belief that you’re not important. Regardless of if it’s a learned behavior or someone expressed it to you, you have the right to self-care and self-love.

Unlearn the habit of overlooking your needs by questioning negative beliefs. Practice prioritizing hood habits like self-care and “me-time“. If anything, it’s a great way to show yourself compassion.

#17. Retail Therapy

Retail therapy can be a positive form of self-care. But if money is tight or you have a shopping addiction, it can spiral out of control, perhaps leaving the store with hundreds of dollars you don’t need.

If you, too, can’t control the impulse to buy unnecessary stuff, don’t feel bad. That’s how you and I cope.However, it’s an expensive form of emotional therapy that leads to huge debts and hoarding.

Counteract retail shopping with good habits like reading a book, meditating, or going for a walk. These are all healthy alternative ways to fight the stress, anxiety, or depressive feelings that trigger wild purchases.

#18. Overthinking Things

It’s so easy to think too much or over analyze things, especially if you’re a perfectionist or prone to worrying. You find yourself doubting decisions, goals, and even your own self. You’ll court anxiety second-guessing your decisions and worrying about work or relationship matters that are out of your control.

Trust that you’ve done all you can and let the rest unfold. Practice challenging negative thoughts and focusing on finding solutions to break the habit. Make use of mindfulness practices to snap yourself out of negative thinking loops.

#19. Dwelling On The Past

Let’s face it, we can’t change the past no matter how much we think things over. We ruminate or dwell on the past to gain more insight, but it’s different from reflecting to improve our behavior in the future. Trouble comes when replaying past events starts making you feel anxious, worried, fearful, or depressed.

Fortunately, you can develop the habit of refusing to give in to the impulse to ruminate each time it happens. Distract yourself with more pleasant thoughts or engage in a brain activity that requires focus, such as solitaire. Accepting the past for what it is is another way to break the pattern.

#20. Letting People Make Decisions For You

Independent decision-making is one of the benefits of being an adult. People might think you lack the ability to stand on your own two feet when you let others decide for you. The problem with this modus operandi is that you’ll be living a life based on other people’s choices and value systems.

The decisions and outcomes may not align with your beliefs, standards, goals, or personal needs. You’re the best person to determine what’s best for you. Don’t allow people to take advantage of you by letting them make choices that can lead you astray.

#21. Watching Too Much TV

Almost a century after the world’s first electronic television was invented, watching TV remains one of the most common forms of self-entertainment. Nothing is wrong with that. It’s being glued to the TV for a long time (binge-watching) that’s the problem.

Daily and excessive TV screen time in one sitting have been linked to problems such as fast food, weight gain, and sleep deprivation. Cognitive decline and an increased risk of heart issues from inactivity are some of the other downsides.

Watch TV for less than two hours a day and ride an exercise bike while you’re at it!

#22. Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Going to bed late has become a norm in the age of technology and social media. Even when you’re in bed, you’re scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok one last time before you get some shut-eye.

The habit of frequently checking social media for LIKES, memes, and celebrity gossip can quickly become an addiction that impacts sleep, work, and relationships.

Equally concerning are people who spend 24/7 on their phones. Ignoring social interactions at places like the dinner table to be engrossed in the social world while missing true social opportunity

There is nothing wrong with spending your downtime online, but you could also spend it doing constructive things, such as journaling or preparing healthy meals for the next day.

#23. Saying Yes to Everything

You like to be in everyone’s good graces. I get it. It makes you feel nice, but what about the physical, emotional and psychological costs of being a people-pleaser? Commit to ending that tendency by starting habits where say “No.”

Prioritizing your needs is an act of self-love and will reduce any resentment you feel towards those you had trouble turning down.

[If you need help standing strong, check out our article on How to Say No Without Being Rude.]

#24. Focusing On The Trivial

Don’t waste time and effort on trivial matters. You’ll just work yourself up and lose focus on more important matters. You’ll cheat yourself out of the valuable time you could redirect toward achieving your goals and enjoying quality time with loved ones.

Focus on the habits that will create a bigger impact or maximize performance. In business, the approach is called the 80/20 rule. 80% of results will come from just 20% of the action.

[See 283 Things to be Thankful For in Life.]

#25. Not Setting Goals

Living life without goals is like being in a boat without a sail. When you go about your day, whether it’s at work or home, do you feel a lack of sense of purpose? Do you feel empty or lost?

Focus on the things that will create a bigger impact or maximize performance.

Your job may have established work goals, but you need to get into the habit of setting personal short-term and long-term goals. For example, buying a home, losing weight, traveling, or changing negative behaviors.

A goal setting habit helps you to stay focused and on task at work

When setting goals, whether personal or professional, it is always a smart move to select goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). You’ll reduce frustration and boost your chances of success by taking this approach.

#26. Not Having A Growth Mindset

It’s not hard to understand why people may not have a growth mindset. After all, it can be a difficult leap to learn new things and push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. But what these individuals are missing out on is the vast world of knowledge they can gain by being open-minded and striving to learn more.

With a bit of commitment, mastering a new skill won’t feel like such an uphill battle. From reading books and listening to podcasts, to enrolling in graduate school or following advice from experts in the field – the possibilities are endless if you have an undying curiosity and self-discipline.

So no matter where your personal journey takes you, ownership of your development is key to reaching your goals.

[Check out our article with over 100 new skills to learn.]

#27. Not Reflecting On Life

Reflecting, not dwelling, on things done and said is a healthy habit to pursue. This new habit is a foundation for growth in various areas of life. When you don’t stop to retrace your steps or examine your thoughts and actions, you’re more prone to repeating mistakes.

Reflecting in your quiet moments enables you to come up with solutions to challenges you hadn’t thought of in the height of things. You’ll learn more about yourself and your purpose. There will be opportunities to make lifestyle adjustments that help you align with your true purpose and experience greater success.

#28. Lashing Out At People

Just like suffering in silence isn’t a healthy way to deal with distress, so is taking it out on everyone who crosses your path. Stress from the daily grind and close relationships eventually takes a toll. You can’t get away from it, but you can learn how to control your emotions and stop misdirecting your anger and resentment.

Ask yourself why you’re so angry and what events trigger the emotion. Train yourself to remain silent whenever you recognize the signs and feel that urge to explode. Some say counting from one to 10 (or higher) is a healthy way to diffuse and manage your feelings.

#29. Staying With a Toxic Partner

Who would have thought that you keep fighting (perhaps literally) to make an unhealthy relationship work simply because you can’t help it? It’s a habit if you have a pattern of holding onto broken relationships. A relationship that’s riddled with drama, disrespect, and trust issues is not easy to restore.

That’s more the case if your partner is struggling with disruptive behaviors due to borderline personality disorder or narcissism. You’re better off cutting your losses to maintain your dignity and sanity. Make it a practice to single out more suitable partners instead of those that aren’t emotionally stable to build a loving relationship.

#30. Texting and Driving

Another car almost crashed into mine head-on the other day, all because of a third driver who was most likely distracted. I wouldn’t be surprised if driving while texting was the reason.

Thousands of people died and hundreds of thousands were injured in 2020 due to distracted driving.

Many states like New York and Georgia have introduced hands-free laws to curb the number of related accidents. Remind yourself that your safety is far more important than responding to a text or call that can certainly wait. Practicing letting calls and messages go unanswered until you are safely parked can save lives.

#31. Ignoring Loved Ones

We all have bad days and don’t feel like communicating or socializing. That doesn’t make it okay to go mute or disregard and dismiss friends or loved ones. You still have a duty to respond to certain needs of your partner or children. Not only is it rude, but you’re also demonstrating a lack of empathy and trouble self-regulating.

Shutting down, withdrawing, and giving the “silent treatment” are passive-aggressive ways to cope with challenges. Improve your mood by journaling your thoughts, exercising, or taking a quick nap. That way, you can stay emotionally connected and reduce friction in personal relationships.

Final Thoughts on How To Break Bad Habits in 2023

Bad habits are a lot like addiction. They are often easy to pick up, yet never easy to break free from.  

Whether it’s more food addictions, drug, sex or alcohol-related addiction… it requires determination and willpower on your part, along with a support system and sometimes outside help to break addiction. Habits aren’t much different.

In conclusion, if you want to stop your bad habits, it is important to start by making small, attainable goals such as making eye contact with someone every day. Rather than just saying, “I am going to start being more outgoing.” Life success is built on small steps.

We all want our lives to be better and healthier, so small steps like this on a daily basis can go a long way. It is also essential to pay attention to how our own behaviors and habits might be influencing our environment and the people around us.

Finding healthy alternatives to replace your vices is another good way to break patterns of bad habits, such as trying more nutritious food options instead of eating unhealthy junk food when feeling stressed or anxious.

Understanding why we do certain things that hurt ourselves and others, as well as being mindful of our daily practices can be incredibly helpful to stop a bad habit for good.

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