The Mega List Of 145 Bad Habits To Avoid

It’s much easier to pick up bad habits than to build good ones.

Everyone has habits they know they should break for one reason or another. 

But how do you know when something actually is a bad habit — and not just a quirk? 

Hint? Quirks are cute. Bad habits . . . not so cute.

When was the last time you felt warm and fuzzy after someone launched into a political rant at the dinner table?

Bad habits can have long-term consequences for you and the people you care about. 

Hence this list of 145 bad habits to avoid. Because once you call those habits what they are, you can take action to replace them with better ones. 

What is Considered a Bad Habit? 

A bad habit would flunk a cost-benefit analysis. When you’re honest about why you haven’t broken the habit and about how it affects you, the cost is greater than the benefit. 

And you want to quit it. You really do. But it’s still hard. Because it’s a habit. You do it without thinking. And sometimes, it makes your life a tiny bit more tolerable in the moment. 

After all, some folks call an awful lot of habits “bad” that don’t really bother you.

So, how do you know it’s truly a bad habit and not just quirky behavior? Look for the following clues:

  • It can adversely affect your physical, mental, or emotional health — or someone else’s.
  • People you care about find it annoying or repulsive, and they wish you’d stop.
  • It breaks customs, laws, or social mores.
  • It can be stopped with an act of the will and with consistency (unlike a mental or emotional health challenge).
  • It could stop you from becoming the person you want to be.

Some bad habits are worse than others. And you might have some habits that would appall someone proud of their good habits but that don’t really bother you and the people whose opinions of you matter most. 

Don’t choose which habits to break based on what Miss Manners would say. This is your life. And you’re the one most deeply affected by the habits you keep.

Ask yourself, as you find your own habits in the list whether you want to see yourself with those same habits five years from now. 

10 Most Common Bad Habits

If you have any of the following habits, you’re in good company. These are the most frequently mentioned bad habits, and some of them you may not even want to break. Or maybe you just don’t consider breaking those habits a high priority. 

Only when they adversely affect your life or someone else’s do they become a problem you can’t ignore. 

  1. Nail-biting
  2. Obsessive social networking
  3. Poor eating habits (stress-eating, overeating, skipping meals)
  4. Poor sleeping habits (too much sleep, too little, etc.)
  5. Poor spending habits
  6. Excessive profanity
  7. Multi-tasking 
  8. Smoking
  9. Procrastination
  10. Overthinking and worrying

In the lists below, we’ll break down some of the more general or inclusive examples of bad habits into more specific ones.

27 of the Most Annoying Bad Habits

Some bad habits are more annoying than others. Some are just distracting, while others make your life and others’ more difficult or stressful.

Some can cheat you of opportunities to advance in your chosen field, while others can put strain on your relationships.

woman looking at phone on bed while husband looking at her bad habits to avoid

Look down the list and be honest with yourself about the habits that are making your life (or someone else’s) more challenging than necessary.

  1. Whining 
  2. Talking in a baby voice
  3. Ending every sentence with “Not!” or “As if!”
  4. Using “AF” to modify every adjective (e.g., “I’m busy AF”)
  5. Being more than 5 minutes late for an appointment/meeting.
  6. Cluttering your living/workspace
  7. Littering 
  8. Leaving the toilet seat up
  9. Leaving clothes on the floor
  10. Leaving sopping wet bath towels on the floor 
  11. Pretending things are okay when they’re not
  12. Taking things personally
  13. Overchecking / obsessing over your appearance
  14. Being overly affectionate with PDA 
  15. Talking in “text speak” (e.g., “Omg!” and “LOL!”)
  16. Overusing slang 
  17. Overusing profanity
  18. Checking your smartphone during meals
  19. Launching into a tirade over something during meals
  20. Eating with your mouth open
  21. Freeloading / mooching off others
  22. Talking during movies
  23. Popping, snapping, or playing with your gum in public
  24. Loudly slurping your drink
  25. Loudly belching in public
  26. Criticizing yourself (habitually)
  27. Laughing loudly at everything 

33 Bad Habits for Health and Fitness

Some of these habits will have a direct effect on your mental and physical well-being; the best way to correct them is through reasonable self-care.

You don’t have to be perfect, but no one should have to go through life in survival mode. 

people doing cheers while eating pizza and chicken bad habits to avoid

Other bad habits listed here just make it harder for others to be around you when you’re working out at the gym.

Most of these can be fixed by treating others as you want to be treated (golden rule stuff).

  1. Staying up too late and sleeping in too late
  2. Sleeping too little
  3. Sitting for too long (i.e., a sedentary lifestyle)
  4. Drinking too much alcohol
  5. Eating too much (binge-eating)
  6. Eating too little 
  7. Skipping self-care to get more work done
  8. Slouching (poor posture)
  9. Not drinking enough water
  10. Drinking too much coffee/caffeine
  11. Distracted driving
  12. Wearing headphones for too long
  13. Wearing the wrong shoes
  14. Stress-eating or emotional eating
  15. Eating too quickly or absent-mindedly
  16. Never taking breaks (while working)
  17. Eating fast food to save time
  18. Taking dangerous stimulants (uppers, hyper-caffeinated drinks, etc.)
  19. Rewarding exercise with junk food
  20. Overtraining (not giving your muscles a chance to recover)
  21. Taking steroids
  22. Lifting weights too quickly or without proper form
  23. Showing off at the gym (lifting too much weight, etc.)
  24. Loudly counting out reps (while others nearby are counting quietly)
  25. Not returning weights to the rack
  26. Leaving your sweat all over the gym equipment
  27. Hogging gym equipment (when others are waiting to use it)
  28. Snacking on the gym floor
  29. Snacking in the bathroom
  30. Saying yes to too many things (over-committing yourself)
  31. Watching too much TV 
  32. Not washing hands after using the bathroom or touching dirty things
  33. Eating things that fall on the floor (though there are exceptions)

More Related Articles:

31 Fun Things To Do By Yourself

9 Ways To Stop Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Want To Stop Being So Cynical? 13 Proven Steps


23 Bad Habits with Money

Some bad habits can get you into a really tight spot with your money (and other people’s). And correcting them can make a world of difference in your financial well-being. 

poker table bad habits to avoid

Think of all the things you’ve done and things you still do that make it impossible to stick to a reasonable budget and to live within your means. Then ask yourself what contrary habits you need in order to turn it around. 

  1. Using a credit card for things you don’t need.
  2. Keeping monthly subscriptions you don’t need or use.
  3. Stress-shopping or emotional shopping (“consumer therapy”)
  4. Impulse buying
  5. Shopping while hungry
  6. Buying lottery tickets (habitually)
  7. Spending recklessly on things you don’t need
  8. Buying coffee, snacks, etc. every day
  9. Buying more food than you can eat and that ends up going bad. 
  10. Gambling
  11. Buying gifts last-minute
  12. Not sticking to a budget (and going deeper into debt)
  13. Leaving lights on when you leave the room
  14. Leaving the water running when you’re not using it
  15. Leaving the heat or AC “on” instead of using “auto.”
  16. Leaving power-hungry electronics plugged in
  17. Washing small/partial loads of laundry or dishes
  18. Staring into the fridge / leaving the door open
  19. Falling asleep with the TV or stereo on
  20. Borrowing money and never repaying
  21. Overspending on things you buy on a regular basis
  22. Eating out too often
  23. Spending money on expensive “status” possessions

33 Bad Habits in Communicating with Others

Some bad habits have a direct effect on our relationships and our ability to communicate effectively with others. And the worst bad habits can even destroy important relationships. 

man pointing at mother and daughter bad habits to avoid

The more of these you quit or replace with people-friendly counter-habits, the more effectively you’ll communicate with others.  And the easier it will be to make friends and keep them. 

  1. Assuming the worst / judging 
  2. Gossiping or spreading rumors about others
  3. Stereotyping others (i.e., racism, classism, homophobia, etc.)
  4. Excessive (or constant) complaining 
  5. Interrupting and talking over others (habitually)
  6. Finishing other people’s sentences — with assumptions
  7. Picking fights (being contentious) 
  8. Criticizing others
  9. Lying (habitually)
  10. Launching into long, self-centered monologues
  11. Hijacking conversations
  12. Rolling your eyes
  13. Staring at others to intimidate or unnerve them
  14. Touching others without permission
  15. Invading others’ personal space
  16. Blaming others to avoid taking responsibility
  17. Gaslighting those who disagree with you or call you out
  18. Talking to yourself around others
  19. Cracking your knuckles
  20. Humming to yourself
  21. Frequently saying “um” and “uh”
  22. Biting your pen or pencil
  23. Clicking your pen 
  24. Agreeing with everyone just to keep the peace
  25. Talking too fast
  26. Talking too slowly or in a monotone voice
  27. Wringing your hands or fidgeting during a conversation
  28. Staring at the floor / avoiding eye contact
  29. Spacing out and not paying attention to what others are saying
  30. Making every conversation all about you and your interests
  31. Checking your phone in the middle of a conversation
  32. Drumming your fingers or tapping your foot impatiently
  33. Not returning borrowed items (or money)

19 Bad Habits with Personal Hygiene

Some bad habits repel other people (especially those with a heightened awareness of contagions) so much they may decide to avoid you and even warn others about you. Or they’ll just rant about your “disgusting” habits to anyone who will listen. 

man holding bottle of water while spitting water bad habits to avoid

Aside from the risk of making yourself and other people sick, some of these habits show neglect of self-care or a lack of self-awareness. 

  1. Picking at or flossing your teeth in public
  2. Biting your fingernails
  3. Picking your nose
  4. Scratching yourself in public
  5. Going to bed wearing make-up
  6. Showering or bathing infrequently (neglecting self-care)
  7. Washing your clothes infrequently
  8. Leaving your toenail clippings on the bathroom floor
  9. Leaving hair all over the sink and countertops
  10. Using someone else’s toothbrush 
  11. Using someone else’s personal hygiene products without asking
  12. Sneezing without covering your mouth
  13. Sneezing into your hands and then spreading the germs
  14. Leaving snotty tissues all over
  15. Wearing too much cologne or perfume
  16. Popping pimples in public
  17. Spitting in public
  18. Picking at your skin
  19. Not brushing your teeth

What will you do about your bad habits?

Now that you’ve looked through 136 bad habits to break (not counting the ten most common), which ones stood out as familiar? 

And which are you most determined to correct?

It’s okay if you don’t feel compelled to fix all of them. Start with the ones that cause the most problems for you — or for others. 

There are longer lists out there, but many of them include habits most would consider normal or at least innocuous — like playing with your hair or using profanity (in moderation). 

Let’s focus more on those that can actually do harm, even if only by degrees. We’re not going for perfection, here. 

We’re going for a fuller, more beautiful life. May yours grow in beauty and joy as you replace your worst habits with better ones. 

Bad habits can have long-term consequences for you and the people you care about.   Hence this list of 145 bad habits to avoid. Because once you call those habits what they are, you can take action to replace them with better ones.  #habits #mindfulness #personalgrowth #lifestyle #mindset

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