Maybe it’s biting your nails, maybe it’s smoking, maybe it’s chewing plastic straws and letting your tongue get caught on the edges. ‘Bad habits’ are varied and never ending, and some people have this concept of ‘bad’ which others would perceive as ‘good’. Those guys who check their ex-friend’s Facebook twice a day, the dads who fall asleep on the chair watching Die Hard every weekend, the artists who give up on a painting half way through because “the nose isn’t right”, the writers (myself) who fall 110% in love with a story then get bored and forget how vivid they had shaped the plot in their heads in the first place.
Think about your habits. Really think, is it really THAT bad that you chew your nails down a little? If you’re self conscious about the lack of manicures in your life and how your hands look when you’re playing piano, yes. If someone has simply made a remark on your nail condition that you’ve never actually noticed before, no.
What I’m saying here is, if your bad habit is actually bringing you down, let’s work on it. If you have never cared about it and others seem to, don’t beat yourself up. By all means, I’m not encouraging a world where everyone smokes and bites their nails and chews straws and never finishes what they start, but be gentle to yourself. If you are trying to quit smoking and give in on a night out, don’t hate yourself in the morning. It doesn’t mean you can’t quit in the long run. If you are trying to finish a story or a painting but you just lose touch with what you’ve created, don’t force yourself to keep on going. Take a break, think about what you would change in your creation and try and work from there.
Bad habits, in my opinion, lead to dangerously high expectations once people try to quit them. Likewise, I see dangerously high expectations as the WORST kind of bad habits. So please, if your ‘bad habit’ is leading to a perfectionist mindset, try and give yourself a little chill time.