Past You Said It!

Bad Habits

Twelve-year-old Clarisse asked this question: "Have you ever had a bad habit, such as twirling your hair when you're nervous or not doing your homework until late at night? Did you break your bad habit? If so, tell what your habit was and share how you broke it, too."

These girls shared their thoughts:

I have a bad habit of biting my nails, so to stop myself, I give myself a manicure. I work hard to make my nails look nice, and I paint them in bright, fun colors. Now I don't bite my nails because I don't want to mess up my pretty nail polish!
–Brittany, age 12, Colorado

Sometimes I interrupt my friends while they're talking. My friend might be talking about a batch of cupcakes that she made, and I'll jump in and say, "I'm so excited that it's snowing today!" I've started to break this habit by working on my listening skills. Instead of thinking of the next thing I'm going to say, I focus on what the other person is saying.
–Caroline, age 9, Georgia

I used to have a habit of chewing the end of my pencil. I broke that habit by chewing a piece of gum instead. When I chew gum, I don't think about chewing my pencil.
–Kayla, age 11, North Carolina

I twirl my hair a lot, especially when I'm nervous. So when I know I'm going to take a big test or perform onstage, I'll put my hair back in a ponytail or braid. Problem solved!
–Reanna, age 9, Pennsylvania

My bad habit was complaining whenever my mom asked me to clean my room. Instead of letting my room become messy and overwhelming, I decided to clean my room every day, a little at a time. That way it doesn't take me hours to straighten up my room, and I don't complain, either.
–Katie, age 11, Texas

On school days, I used to wake up too late, and I never had time for breakfast. Now I set my alarm to go off a little earlier. I motivate myself to get out of bed when I think, If I get up now, I'll have time to eat breakfast, and I won't be hungry all morning.
–Ameena, age 10, Illinois

When I take tests at school, I drum my fingers on my desk. One day during a test, my teacher had to ask me to be quiet. I decided to break this habit by keeping the hand I'm not using in my pocket. It really works.
–Bella, age 11, Virginia

This might not sound like a "bad" habit, but I used to spend way too much time trying to make my homework look perfect. When my teacher told me to focus more on the content of my work than on how it looks, I stopped trying to perfect my handwriting and used that time to do research or work on math problems instead. I finish my homework a lot faster now, and my grades have actually gotten better.
–An American Girl fan, age 13, New Jersey

I had a habit of eating too much candy. I always packed candy in my lunch, even though I knew it wasn't good for me. I asked my mom how I should break this habit. She said that every time I eat a piece of candy, I have to do a chore I dislike. Now I don't eat as much candy!
–Gigi, age 8, Washington

Sometimes I correct my friends' grammar. For example, if someone said, "Me and you," I would correct her and say, "You mean, ÔYou and I.'" I could tell that this habit was starting to annoy my friends, so I decided to put my perfectionism aside and just have fun.
–Shelby, age 10, Florida

I tend to sway back and forth when I give reports in front of my class. When I had to give a speech in front of the whole school, my friend told me that it looked like I was doing a little dance! When I realize that I'm swaying, I tell myself to stand up straight and plant my feet. It's really helped.
–Ellen, age 12, Wisconsin

I used to say "like" way too much. My mom's friend told me to replace the word "like" with "enjoy." When I started to realize how silly I sounded, I stopped. That put an end to my "like" habit!
–Fiona, age 11, California

I have a habit of starting my homework too late at night. When my grades started to go down, I realized that I needed to break this habit. Now I do my homework as soon as I get home. When I finish it, I give myself a reward, such as playing a board game with my sister.
–Olivia, age 12, Ohio

I read so much that it has actually become a bad habit. When I started reading at the dinner table, my mom told me I should save my books for quiet time instead. Now when I eat dinner, I focus on the food and talking to my family. My books are a lot cleaner, too!
–Cosi, age 11, Florida

My habit is humming without realizing it. After someone mentioned to me that I was humming in the middle of church, I decided to break my habit. I asked my family members to let me know whenever I'm humming so that I'm aware of it. That put a stop to my humming.
–Alex, age 13, Oklahoma

I have tendency to go to bed too late. I'm supposed to be in bed by 9:00, but I get distracted and usually end up going to sleep after 10:00. Now, instead of having an alarm wake me up in the morning, I have an alarm go off at night that tells me it's time to go to bed. I go to sleep right away, and feel well-rested the next day.
–Emily, age 9, Utah

Bragging was my bad habit. I'd say things to my friends such as, "You didn't get to go to that concert? I did, and we got great seats!" Then one day, I hurt someone with my bragging, and I felt awful. So I decided that instead of bragging, I would give people compliments and keep the conversation off of me. Now the girl is one of my best friends, and I learned a valuable lesson.
–Hannah, age 11, Kansas

My bad habit was never putting my shoes away. My family members would trip over them all the time, but I still forgot to put them in my closet. Then we got a new puppy. When I left my shoes out, he would chew them! I ended up losing six pairs of shoes, and that definitely helped me to break my bad habit.
–Annie, age 12, Michigan