6 Bad Habits to Kick Before It’s Too Late

Everyone has a couple of bad habits they’ve had a hard time kicking, or maybe there are a few good habits they’ve had a hard time picking up. While most of us could probably stand to eat a bit healthier and exercise a bit more, there are a few bad habits that everyone should make a serious priority to kick. With all of these, the sooner you quit, the better your chance of avoiding long term complications as a result. Do what’s in your own best interest and kick these bad habits while you can.

  1. Smoking. This is a big one for many people, though it has been getting steadily less and less popular with Americans in recent years. By this point, we are all very familiar with the negative effects caused by smoking. But in case you need a reminder, smoking can lead to skin discoloration, extreme gum and tooth disease, heart disease, stroke, bronchitis, and cancers of the lungs, jaw, bladder, blood, larynx, esophagus, and more. If you are having trouble quitting, there are a few options available to you including, most recently, an alternative like the e-cigarette. Though e-cigarettes have not yet been fully tested for their long-term health effects, there is no doubt that they are a much less serious threat than cigarettes. They do not contain all of the harmful chemicals found in regular cigarettes, and they also minimize the risk to others as there is no second-hand smoke.
  2. Excessive consumption of alcohol. While the legacy of the American college movie would have you believe that getting black-out drunk on a daily basis is a rite of passage, the truth is that long-term excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to serious complications. If you’ve only been black-out drunk once or a hand-full of times, you probably haven’t done any serious damage, but if you are regularly forgetting parts of your night, you are altering your brain’s chemistry to such a significant degree that you leave yourself vulnerable to damage. If you are not drinking to the point of blacking out, you should still consider the ways in which alcohol can damage your body in lesser amounts. This includes but is not limited to dehydration, liver damage, inflammatory disorders, heart failure, and excessive weight gain.
  3. Forgetting your sunscreen. While getting some Vitamin D for your skin is important to your health, you should be certain that you are not leaving yourself exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight. In fact, most dermatologists recommend that you wear sunscreen every day, especially if you live in a very sunny place or you spend large amounts of time outside. But even so, everyone should be wearing sunscreen daily as a habit, even people who work inside all day or live in cloudy places. Skin cancer resulting from excessive sun exposure can be difficult to catch and are a very serious health risk.
  4. Choosing food indiscriminately. There are so many unknown things going into our food that most of us probably don’t really have a full understanding of what we may be exposed to on a regular basis. For example, while GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are legal to sell in the United States, they are illegal in 60 other nations including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union. GMOs can lead to allergies (including the development of allergies to non-GMO products), liver problems, reproductive problems, and infant mortality. Learning how to read labels properly is extremely useful for avoiding GMOs. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid regularly buying products that contain an ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Find an organic health food store in your community, and start shopping there instead of your usual grocery store. Some of them aren’t as expensive as you think.
  5. Not drinking enough water. A huge number of Americans don’t drink enough water and many don’t even know how much water they are supposed to be drinking in a day. In a temperate climate, the average man needs to drink 3 liters of water a day, and the average woman needs 2.2 liters. While you are probably not at risk for serious dehydration (unless you are dealing with a stomach disease or some other extenuating circumstances), not getting enough water can significantly impact your quality of life as it may cause skin dryness, fatigue, irritability, and overeating. This is especially crucial during these summer months. If you know you have a hard time drinking enough water, consider adding some electrolyte tablets to your water to hydrate you more easily.
  6. Failing to cope with stress. Stress can have a huge impact on your emotional and your physical well-being. Common symptoms include insomnia, feeling unable to relax, irritability, low self-esteem, withdrawing from social interactions or your important relationships, loss of appetite, weight loss, headaches, low energy, teeth grinding, loss of sex drive, aches and pains, and increased susceptibility to colds and flus. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on medication for stress, but you should take stress management options very seriously. Exercise regularly as an outlet, get a massage every once in a while, or consider seeking some sort of therapy.

Making Health Your Habit

Reading over this list, you might get the impression that you need to cut all the fun from your life or that the process of becoming healthy is too overwhelming. The best way to deal with these feelings is to start small. See what things are causing you to feel like you aren’t achieving your best quality of life and take those things just small steps at a time. Once you start to build upon the small changes, the rest will start to come naturally.


Editor’s Note: Thank you to this post’s author, Mike Wilson, for the healthy summer tips.


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