Here, readers list all of the bad habits they would love to live without.
Interrupting people. Growing up with nine siblings, I had to talk over everyone if I wanted to get a word in edgewise. But my husband has pointed out that I interrupt as an adult, too. In casual conversations with friends, I often can’t wait to put in my two cents.
If I could kick my addiction to my cell phone, I think I would have a fuller life. I would take the time to appreciate my surroundings—to notice the curl of a leaf, the shape of a rain droplet, the beauty of a nearby house—more than I do now.
Eavesdropping. I know that it’s rude, but when I hear a conversation going on behind a closed door, I can’t help listening to it.
I never put the tops back on jars, tubes, and bottles. The result: congealed foundation, dried-up toothpaste, and dishwashing soap all over the floor. I would save myself a lot of time and money if I just stuck those tops on.
Santa Rosa, California
When I was a teen, I would go to the local pool every day of the summer—and at lunch I would order French fries. Ever since then, I’ve been a dedicated connoisseur. I know the best local purveyor, the best frozen version, the best fast-food variety. If fries are on the menu, I just can’t resist.
To my great chagrin, I never seem to finish what I start. My home is filled with half-done projects: a piece of a sweater I began to knit, a partially painted canvas, an incomplete scrapbook of my trip to Ecuador. If only my good intentions had been strong enough to keep me going on them.
I don’t remember when I started biting my nails, but I do remember my mother bribing me with a new My Little Pony to get me to stop. (It worked only until I earned the prize.) As an adult, I’ve mostly curbed the habit—except when I’m nervous or thinking hard. I should wear gloves while I prepare my tax return.
San Jose, California
Before I had my daughter, I was always on the hunt for new work outfits. But now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I don’t really need that many clothes, so instead I shop—too often—for my kid. We already have four bins of clothing she has out-grown, and she’s only 11 months old. I hope my second child is a girl, too.
Overpacking is my weakness. I can’t seem to travel anywhere without at least three large bags.
Despite my best intentions, I always let my car get cluttered. Only when unopened mail starts falling out of the pockets in the doors do I buck up and clean.
Insulting myself. I think things that I would never say to another person—“I’m such a slacker at work”; “Why can’t I run faster?”—or tolerate anyone saying to me.
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
I’m from Texas, where folks speak with a drawl. But me? I talk way too quickly—like a squirrel is running on a little treadmill in my brain.
My father owned race cars and taught me to drive at age 13. I think that’s why I drive too fast and have no patience for people who slow me down. When the car in front of me is too slow, I get upset. I try changing lanes and taking deep breaths, but I always end up speeding again.
Eating Halloween candy. I vow to exercise restraint when trick-or-treating season begins, but I can’t keep myself from gorging. One recent Halloween, I had a nightmare that I devoured my son’s entire stash on November 1. In the dream, he immediately noticed the missing candy (despite my valiant attempts to replace it) and never forgave me.
San Carlos, California
I don’t understand why I need to turn on the TV every evening after dinner. Why don’t I spend that time doing something creative, like writing, painting, or even playing a board game?
Since middle school, I’ve been hitting the snooze button for up to an hour each morning. The only way I can get up on time is if a friend calls and nags me on the phone—and even then I sometimes ignore the call.