What kind of obnoxious question is this? Of course, I have no bad habits! I’m perfect!
There are no perfect people on this world. Our habits make us who we are, so lack of perfection suggests at least some bad habits.
My Bad Habits
I don’t go to sleep early enough to have a truly productive morning.
I don’t praise my children often enough (read: I almost never praise them).
I binge-eat on sweets all too often.
Stop! Enough of this embarrassing list! I hope you got the point. I have “some” bad habits.
Where Do We Get Bad Habits?
I see two main sources of my (and everybody else’s) bad habits: people and succumbing to our vices.
My personal definition of a bad habit is: something you will regret after practicing for a year and you will regret it 100x more after 10 years.
Bad habits bring bad consequences. Good habits bring good consequences. Both kinds of habits compound, so you can recognize their true value only with time, usually months and years, not just weeks.
The foremost source of everybody’s bad habits are our parents and siblings. Since our siblings got most of their habits from our parents, let’s blame parents. 😉
You surely know the expression: “Do what I say, not what I do.”
Well, it doesn’t work because kids are doing exactly the opposite. They learn life through mimicry. They observe and repeat. BTW, it may be a good wake-up call for you if you cherish your kids. Break away from your bad habits or they will inherit them.
I have another bad habit — I let my wife run our household budget. I value pseudo-peace at home more than financial security, exactly as my father.
However, don’t just point the finger at your parents.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
Jim’s adage is a simplification. You are the average of ALL the people you spend time with. Of course, the more time you spend with a particular person, the more influence they have on you.
I have my late-to-bed habit thanks to my wife. She is not a morning person. She loves to stay up late at night and watch TV or read.
The people around you are “responsible” for your bad habits (you know that the only person responsible for an adult is him/herself, right?), but the culture is to be blamed as well.
Humans are social animals. We put an almost weighty importance to what other human beings say and do. I guess it’s easily 80% of our decision-making processes.
Today’s culture supports bad habits. It’s a culture of instant gratification. It’s an ally of your enemies: comfort zone, homeostasis and complacency.
Bad habits often feel very good at the moment you do them. The reward is instant. I eat a sweet and I’m delighted. I let my wife spend money on whatever and I avoid a fight. But I will regret those choices down the road, especially if they are habitual and they compound with time.
Instant gratification culture is everywhere around. Success is worshipped, but not perseverance that allowed you to reach that success. Thus, developing bad habits is so much easier.
Originally published at Quora.com.