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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.

The Worst

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 blaming.

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 each year.

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 motivation.

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.


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Here's a good page on bad habits in Spanish:

Malos Habitos


Increase Brainpower Homepage | Bad Habits