Some Really Bad Habits
Having too many less-than-useful habits can limit your opportunities
in life. Here are six of the worst, with suggestions on how to
break them. Of course it is best if you retrain your brain in
good habits too, but just getting rid of bad habits is a great
start to a better life.
1. Blaming outside factors. Justified or not, how often does
blaming someone or something for our situation motivate us to
improve it? This is definitely one of the worst of these bad
habits, and one of the more subtle ones too. For example, giving
"reasons" for our troubles is often just a form of
Suppose a given area of business is over-regulated. Who is
more likely to succeed in this area, the man who blames the regulation
for his troubles, or the one that is always asking, "What
can I do to succeed with things the way they are?" Train
your mind to think like the latter, if you want greater success.
You can point at problems, or deal with them.
2. Thinking short-term. I knew a man who paid $700 per month
in rent when a nicer place was available for $550. Why? The expensive
apartment required no deposit, and the cheaper place required
a $450 deposit, so he would have had to save $1,000 to move in.
For his short-term thinking, he now pays $1,800 more for rent
Short term thinking got this man into his situation, but even
once in it he could have gone to the pawn shop and raised the
extra money. Even at 36% annual interest, it would have cost
him very little to raise the extra $300, versus spending $1,800
more per year. Think about long-term consequences of your actions.
Write them down whenever you make a decision. Do this until your
mind does it automatically.
3. Impulsive behavior. A man at the bus stop mentioned that
he had bought a $200 hat. Minutes later he told me he was hoping
they would approve his welfare application. A problem with impulse
control? Is it possible that his bad habits may have lead to
a place on the welfare rolls?
Why not wait a day before taking any action that commits time,
energy or money towards something that is not a major goal in
your life? Do this until it is a habit. You'll usually change
your mind by the next day.
4. Waiting for opportunity to knock. Why should I be "waiting
for my ship to come in," while others are out there building
ships? Work invites opportunities - waiting doesn't. Why not
search out opportunities and create opportunities? Training your
brain to see them can be as simple as looking for them every
day. Training yourself to take advantage of them can start by
always taking some small step the moment you recognize an opportunity.
5. Procrastinating. Creative procrastination, such as putting
off picking up that cigarette or eating that cake, can actually
be a good habit. That isn't what we normally procrastinate on
though. To stop procrastinating on the things you want and need
to do, get in the habit of looking for and doing the easiest
first step you can find. Often just starting will develop your
6. Laziness. What can I say about this bad habit, except that
I don't know of anyone who has suffered greatly from forcing
themselves to get up and do something. Try something easy first.
If low energy is part of the problem, start learning a few techniques
for boosting it, like deep breathing and singing.
You may have heard the saying, "change your mind - change
your life." How do you do that? A simple start is to correct
your habits, one-by-one.