Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


The Hardest Habits to Break

by Darci Maxwell

Bad habits often start as coping mechanisms — little things we do to help relieve stress and to relax.  Over time, they become a habit, releasing dopamine every time you engage in the behavior, giving you positive reinforcement to continue the habit.  However, some of these habits are bad for your health or are socially unacceptable. Here are the some of the hardest habits to break. Social but not social


Lying can be a hard habit to break, whether you lie to others or to yourself. Interestingly enough, people who frequently lie start to believe the lies they tell, and are often unable to distinguish truth from the lies. Sometimes, it is easier to lie about than it is to tell the truth, but lying will only bring misery. You start to lose the trust of friends and family, and they don’t believe you even when you are telling the truth. If you are someone who often lies, you probably have come to depend on those lies to keep you in a false sense of security. While this habit seems impossible to break, do all you can to tell the truth? Your life will be better for it.


Many people bring a bag of chips with them when they watch their evening televisions shows.  At the end of the program, they are astonished that the entire bag is gone. You probably have fallen prey to the bad habit of snacking. If this is your bad habit, it may be wise to begin by snacking smarter, rather than suddenly quit snacking altogether. Over time, you will learn to listen to your body and give it the proper nutrients when it needs them.

Low Self Esteem

Tearing yourself down is another bad habit that it is important to break. We all have a voice inside of our heads that tells us that we are not smart enough, pretty enough, good enough, etc.  That voice is wrong. Learn to change your inner voice. Start by praising yourself every day.  When you do something right, make sure that you counteract the negativity with positive thinking.


Things like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, heroin, etc. are not just difficult habits to break, but are substances that actually change the way your brain works. It is possible, however, to quit using substances, it just takes a bit more work and outside help than your run-of-the-mill bad habit.  Each drug affects your brain in different ways, making the path to recovery unique and challenging (If you’re curious which drugs are the hardest to give up, check out this blog).


Feeling loved and appreciated is not a bad thing, however, when you depend entirely on others to build you up, it becomes unhealthy. Seeking love can lead you to chase dating prospects that are harmful for your emotional health. You may run into someone who is charismatic and charming, but a total jerk. You are enough. You don’t need other’s approval in order to be good enough. Learn to break the habit of chasing after those who have no time for you.

Using Slang

While this bad habit isn’t necessarily bad for you, it can make you look less educated if you consistently use slang words such as “um” and “like.” This can be harmful during business transactions and in other places when professionalism is important. Make sure that you properly know how to pronounce words, as well as when to use them.


While each “grooming” habit can be broken out into it’s own separate habit, for the sake of this article, we have classified them as one. Grooming habits include nail biting, face picking, hair twirling, looking for split ends, tucking in your shirt, checking your zipper, popping your knuckles, etc. For the most part, these habits are not harmful, rather obnoxious (especially to those nearby), and can be seen as unprofessional.


It seems like some people just cannot arrive anywhere on time.  They are late for work, church, family functions, outings with friends, everything.  And it seems that no matter how hard they try, they are constantly late. This is a hard habit to break because consistently late people probably were raised by consistently late people, or in a community where tardiness was the norm. It is possible to break this habit, over time. Start by telling yourself that you have to be everywhere 10 minutes early, no matter what. With practice, you will start arriving places on time.

Excessive Screen Time

We have become addicted to the little devices we keep in our pockets. Your iPhone or Android phone might be affecting your sleep, causing eye fatigue, ruining your relationships, and more.  While you may not be able to decide how much time you spend at work in front of a computer screen, you can change how much you stare at your phone outside of work. Stop taking your phone to the bathroom, put it down when you’re on a date (even if it’s just a friend date), and put it down when you are interacting with your family members. Your life will be richer for it.




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