The Top Bad Habits
According to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Breaking Bad Habits, by Suzanne LeVert and Gary McClain, Ph.D. (Alpha Books, 1998), these are the top 10 bad habits:
“Forgetting” and other acts of carelessness
Belching and passing gas
Obsessing over orderliness
Being unable to make a commitment
Being a skinflint (cheapskate)
How many are you guilty of? The fact that a bad habit is common doesn't mean it's okay. Let's look at some tips for curing those first three: lying, being late, and “forgetting,” as well as other acts of carelessness.
Lying is a habit, not necessarily a character flaw. Some people find themselves bending the truth habitually, even if they don't have a good reason to do so. Do you slant situations or pad the facts so that they are just a little more dramatic? Do you say what you think people want to hear instead of what is really so?
Truth telling is a habit, too, and the best way to start is to always pause and think before you say something. Ask yourself, “What am I about to say?” And if your answer is something other than what you know to be the truth, ask yourself, “Is there really a good reason for bending the truth? What would happen if I simply said what is so?” Becoming aware of your habit as you do it will help you to slowly alter it.
Why are you always late? Are you perpetually disorganized? Do you like the power that comes from making people wait for you? Being late is inconsiderate, even rude. It makes you look bad, and it sets a bad example for the people who look up to you (people such as your children).
The best way to handle disorganization is to tackle problems one at a time. Let your tardiness be your first goal. Planning is key. Start getting ready for anything you have to do about an hour ahead of time and make sure you have everything you need well before you need it. And if you are late because you like to make them late, keep reading.
“Forgetting” and other acts of carelessness, including being late all the time, show a blatant disregard for other people. You may have plenty of excuses. You were “running behind.” You have “too much on your plate.” You “didn't think.” But these are only excuses. The way you treat other human beings is a direct reflection on your character, but it is also something over which you have control.
Take control of your people skills and work on doing something thoughtful for someone every day. Try to imagine yourself as the recipient of your actions. How would you feel if a friend said that or did this or forgot you or failed to show up? As with any habit, once again, awareness is the key.