Why are Bad Habits so Hard to Break?

@GreenMoo (11842)
April 19, 2013 4:24pm CST
Why can't I stop biting my nails? I've done it most of my life, and, despite all my best efforts to stop, I still do it. Other people can't stay away from cigarettes, or being late, or cream cakes, or whatever. So why are bad habits so hard to break? Disregarding those like smoking which include a physical addiction, surely we should just be able to say 'Right, I'm going to stop this today'? So why can't we? Have you successfully broken any bad habits? How did you go about it? What habits are you finding it hard to break?
2 people like this
11 responses
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
19 Apr 13
getting on myLot at work
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
19 Apr 13
I guess that's one you haven't broken yet rather than one you have? :)
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@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
19 Apr 13
I broke it when my old employer blocked social sites, and now it's unbroken again...
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60763)
• United States
19 Apr 13
I managed to stop biting my nails, but I had to substitute something else instead of nails so I ate a LOT of candy for a couple of years, one I could gnaw on like I had the nails. The roomie just stopped.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
19 Apr 13
I tend to do it when I'm in the car as a passenger. I should take something to occupy my hands I suppose.
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@ElicBxn (60763)
• United States
19 Apr 13
Take up knitting or something.
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@MoonGypsy (4613)
• United States
19 Apr 13
i have two bad habits. one where i smoke, that's the really bad one. the other is where i touch my ear lobe. i like the way it feels.
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@GreenMoo (11842)
19 Apr 13
We had a girl here recently who kept scratching here head. It was so bad I asked her if she had head lice. She said it was just a habit but if that was mine I would try really hard to sort it out!
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@katsmeow1213 (29029)
• United States
19 Apr 13
Because it's easier to give in than to deal with the pain and torment of trying to avoid whatever it is we're trying to avoid.. I can't stay away from junk food and fast food.. and I smoke. Hubby bites his nails, I always slap his hand when I catch him biting a nail!
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Apr 13
I'm thinking that junk food and fast food is easier to stay away from than his nails for your husband. If you don't keep it in the house and don't carry cash you can't get your hands on it easily, but your husband's hands are always on the ends of his arms! Perhaps you should suggest he wears mittens, as my Mum made me once! It didn't work though ...
• United States
20 Apr 13
I've been threatening to paint his nails for him.. have you tried that?
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Apr 13
Actually, I DID stop for a while. That was before I got married when my husband to be sent me to have a proper manicure. These days, nail varnish would last about 5 minutes when I'm working in the garden and with the animals all day!
@emily7339 (1340)
• Malaysia
20 Apr 13
Well, "bad habits die hard" so it is very true ! My son has a bad habit of breaking loose the edges (corner) of his comforter with his nibble fingers ! He will twist and turn unconciously until the edges wear off and I have to sew it back for him. Despite of many efforts for stopping him but to no avail even till this day. I had to make some modification to trim the badly shape portion and sew up the edges of the four corners for him day before !
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Apr 13
How old is he? That's a lovely habit, as habits go!
@emily7339 (1340)
• Malaysia
20 Apr 13
He did that since a young boy and now he is age 21, unbelievable ! I told him, there will be NO NEW comforter for him if he continues to do such act . And I told him, his comforter will be getting out of shape and becoming smaller and smaller !
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Apr 13
Aw, sweetie
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
23 Apr 13
Would you consider a midnight snack a bad habit? If so, then it's the one thing I can't seem to break. I don't go around and prepare a full snack (anymore), but I still grab something (sweet) to bite just before I go to sleep. I find that it's not very helpful in my attempt to loose weight and get healthy. I think for me, it's something that I got from my dad. He is fond of having a snack at night. It is something that we shared. The connection with my dad makes it a hard habit for me to break.
@GreenMoo (11842)
23 Apr 13
Personally, I wouldn't consider it a particularly bad habit as habits go. But then I'm not watching my weight or health. If you are, then you're right, I guess it's not helpful. But, you know, if it's a habit which connects you with your Dad, and you value that, then perhaps it's a habit you can live with. Perhaps you could modify it a little so you snack on a healthier option, but my personal feeling is that the positive emotions that go with the connection with a loved one outweigh the negative effects of a snack (unless you're horrifically unhealthy or overweight of course).
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
23 Apr 13
I keep saying to myself that I'm not (horrifically unhealthy or overweight)! And I think I'm still blessed with a high metabolism (even though I think it's slowing a bit).
• United States
20 Apr 13
Habits are hard to break because they become part of us. In my case I donot even know whme I am doing a habit I need to break. Its is funny a habit is easy to pick up but hard to break.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Apr 13
You're absolutely right. I ask to be reminded about the nailbiting, as I often don't realise.
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
20 Apr 13
I've managed to stop eating so much chocolate, but I had to do it with a friend. It's really hard to break habits, so I've tried a lot of different methods. So far, for me, it's best to just quit things - I can't let myself even do it a little bit. Of course, this is what works for me because my bad habits have all been eating or other things that are external. I don't know how I would stop something like biting nails because your nails are always there.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Apr 13
that's just what I was saying to another respondent. Nails are always there!
• Philippines
20 Apr 13
Habits die hard! I'm glad I've no noticeable habit, or if there's any, that is reading. However, I have this habit of thinking how I'd be if I am in someone else's shoes, I imagine impossible things and create scenarios in my mind, how I'd cope up in a given situation. I wonder if there's someone like me who has this weird side.
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Apr 13
Those don't sound like bad habits to me! Putting yourself in someone else's shoes is something that we should arguably all do more of.
@wolfie34 (26820)
• United Kingdom
19 Apr 13
I too have the same bad habit as you, I have bitten my nails for most of my life and no matter how hard I try, I just cannot break the habit, I blame part of it on my anxiety issues, did you know biting your nails is actually seen as self-harming? I didn't know that until my therapist pointed it out to me recently, as too is comfort eating, that is self-harm! And I always thought self-harming was about cutting. I even bite the skin around the nail too and my thumbs, well they are red raw at times.
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Apr 13
My hands look very odd because I have several decent looking nails on each hand. but if they break or get a rough bit I will nibble away at them in an attempt to make them smooth, which of course is just stupid. I don't think I've ever bitten to the extent that I've made them red raw, but I've certainly made myself uncomfortable and could really kick myself. It's just so stupid! I've tried all sorts of things in my lifetime. Even that disgusting tasting stuff you paint on them. I'd even bite them through that. I hadn't even thought of nail biting as self harm, but I guess that it is a self destructive habit so it is. Maybe thinking of it like that will help me to get a handle on it.
@Hatley (164743)
• Garden Grove, California
19 Apr 13
GreenMoo I think its because we usually do the bad habit when we are tense or nervus about something. Mine is chewing on a lock of my air and I know its totally repulsive and I have really made a stern effort to quit as its unsightly and not clean nor good for my hair. My hubby used to embarrass me by saying "does that taste good?"too at times we do it unconsciously then realize we are doing the bad habit again. I am getting much better now as I become awarewhen I start then stop at once.
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Apr 13
That's funny. It's a habit I associate with little girls! Like my nail biting, it's something I bet you really wish you could stop.