10 Good Habits to Replace Bad Habits for the New Year

To get your New Year off to a good start, it's time to drop your bad habits and replace them with good ones. Here’s a list of 10 bad habits that you should quit before the New Year and good ones to replace them with.

If we’re not careful, sometimes our bad habits can overpower our good. Bad habits can affect us emotionally, mentally, physically, and contribute to the leading causes of death in the United States (like smoking). Bad habits are learned over time and subconsciously become a part of our daily routine.

The good news is that bad habits can be unlearned and transformed into good habits. With the New Year right around the corner, it’s not too late to quit these bad behaviors and replace them with good ones.

Keep reading to discover 10 good habits to replace bad habits in 2021.

1.  Eating Breakfast

Bad Habits to quit for the New Year

Bad: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet many people skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast can cause people to overeat later in the day and can lead to obesity. People who skip breakfast deprive their body of essential nutrients and can cause their blood sugar to drop.

Good: Eating breakfast every day provides significant benefits to your health overall. To avoid skipping breakfast in the morning, plan what you’re going to eat for breakfast the night before, along with the time and place. Schedule it as a part of your daily routine so that you can plan to eat a healthy nutritious breakfast every morning until it becomes a new good habit.

2.  Going To Bed On Time

Bad: For the night owls out there, the idea of going to bed early seems almost impossible. Going to bed late prevents you from getting a good night’s rest and interrupts your natural sleep schedule. This makes it even more challenging to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed and ready to start your day. You may even find yourself feeling more sluggish and lethargic throughout the day as a result of going to bed late therefore decreasing your overall productivity.

Good: Practice going to bed early to avoid staying up late. Schedule a time to be in bed and stick to going to bed at this time every night. If you find yourself staying up late as a result of watching TV or scrolling on your phone on social media, choose a time to turn off your electronics. Try creating an evening routine to meet your goal of being in bed by a certain time to avoid staying up and going to bed late. By going to bed early, you’re guaranteed to get more quality sleep at night.

3.   Quitting Nail Biting

Bad: Do you find yourself biting your nails out of stress, nervousness, or sheer boredom? Typically, nail-biting begins during childhood and can continue into adulthood. Nail-biting is a serious, unsanitary habit that can lead to long term damage to your nails, cuticles, and can even cause bacterial infections. 

Good: If you’re struggling to stop biting your nails, you’re not alone. Activities such as going for a walk, chewing gum, distracting your hands with a pen to write, or even a stress ball can prevent you from biting your nails. If you still find yourself biting your nails incessantly even after trying remedies to help, try putting lemon juice or hot sauce on your fingertips for a week. These can act as a great deterrent when you get the urge to start biting.

4.  Being Punctual

Bad: Running late is not only rude and inconsiderate of other people’s time, but it’s also a sign you are often “rushing” through the day. People who are chronically late often underestimate the amount of time they have to complete a task or arrive on time. In some cases, running late may also suggest you are disorganized and have a lack of consideration for others.

Good: If you are running late often, try identifying the reasons behind your tardiness. Practice punctuality by planning out your schedule and tasks beforehand. Practice arriving at least 10-15 minutes early before any appointment, class, event, etc. If you have a task to complete before an appointment or event, give yourself an extra 30 minutes to complete the task so that you will not run the risk of being late.

5.  Reducing Your Smartphone Screen Time

Bad: In the day and age we live in, most of us are addicted to our phones. We live through our phones and are constantly checking text messages, emails, phone calls, social media, and more. We oftentimes don’t even realize how much time we are spending on our devices. It’s a toxic habit that most of us tend to overlook. Not only is it a bad habit to be constantly distracted by our phones, but it can also appear rude or offensive when we are spending time with others  

Good: If you check your phone repeatedly throughout the day, try scheduling times to specifically check your phone. By doing this, you’ll find yourself more productive in how you use your phone. For example, instead of aimlessly scrolling on social media throughout the day, you can reserve a time just to check your Facebook or reply to your emails.

6.   Get Moving!

Bad: When you work a sedentary job, it may seem impossible to avoid sitting all day. At home, you may find yourself sitting even more while you eat dinner and sit on the couch to watch TV. Sitting all day can have negative short-term and long-term effects on our health including poor posture, varicose veins, obesity, dementia, and can increase our risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Good: If your job requires a lot of time sitting, try getting up to move and do a little exercise every hour. Plan and set a reminder to stand up and stretch for a couple of minutes to keep your blood flowing and circulating. Other alternatives include walking while talking on the phone instead of sitting and committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to keep your muscles moving.  

7.   Stop Procrastinating

Bad: Procrastination, it’s so easy to do but if you’re not careful, it can wreak havoc on your life. It can keep you from being productive and delay you from getting important tasks done and meeting deadlines. Many people who procrastinate, have higher levels of stress and a lower level of well-being.

Good: It’s important to identify the triggers that may cause you to procrastinate. Do you procrastinate when an assignment or task is challenging? Do you delay tasks that aren’t self-gratifying and choose other tasks instead? Be sure to ask yourself these questions to help you identify the type of procrastinator you are. Once you identify the type of procrastinator you are, you can plan more effectively on how to be more productive. To avoid procrastination, make sure you prioritize getting organized and set achievable goals. You may also want to consider creating a timeline or schedule and removing any distractions that may cause you to procrastinate.   

8.  Saving Money

Bad: Many people struggle to save money for both short and long-term goals, as more people prioritize spending and paying bills over saving. In the long run, not saving money can prove to be stressful especially during emergency situations. If your bank account is lacking in savings, it may be time to rethink your budgeting and spending habits.

Good: If you are struggling to save money, it’s time to reassess and prioritize saving. Consider where your money is going and record your monthly expenses. The most important part of learning how to save is to figure out exactly how much you’re earning and spending, otherwise known as budgeting! Once you’ve narrowed down how much you are spending, you can start setting aside money to save. Then you can watch your savings grow.

9.   Letting Go of a Grudge

Bad: When people have hurt or wronged us, it may be difficult to let it go and forgive. Even if we may feel that it is warranted, holding a grudge against someone can be detrimental to your health. Generally, most people think holding a grudge is harmless, but studies show that people who are bitter and hold grudges have higher blood pressure and are more likely to die from heart disease than people who forgive.

Good: To let go of a grudge, it’s important for you to learn how to deal with anger and let it go even when it’s difficult. Try to shift the focus from the person to yourself, and make it about you and your healing journey. Practice letting go of a grudge by embracing forgiveness and releasing bitterness, anger, resentment, and any other pain that you feel. By learning to forgive, you will learn to heal faster, restore peace within yourself, and continue and move forward with life.

10. Go to the Doctor and Make Your Health a Priority

Bad: Skipping appointments to visit your healthcare provider is never a good idea and puts you at a greater risk for developing chronic diseases. Scheduling an annual visit with your healthcare provider is vital to your health as it aids in preventive measures

Good: It’s important to set aside time each year to go in for a wellness exam and check in with your healthcare provider. These yearly check-ups allow your healthcare provider to detect any illnesses or health concerns early. Wellness visits are a form of preventive care and should be a top priority for your health every year.