Bad habits are like diamonds: inexplicably appealing and tough to break. To be human is to exhibit at least a few habitual behaviors that are as destructive as they are unhealthily satisfying. One reason that bad habits can be so difficult to shake is that your brain actually triggers the release of dopamine, your body's "reward hormone" when you engage in naughty doing, which is why some of these habits may feel good for all the wrong reasons. Other bad habits may be the result of low confidence or simply not putting yourself first, but one thing that they all have in common is that they need to be stopped, or they will come back to bite you in your slightly older ass. Seriously. Knock these off now. Even if it means (ugh) making your mom happy.
Racking up credit card bills
Is there any better feeling than leaving the mall with your arms weighed down by a plentiful bounty of shopping bags after a full day of literally charging your way through every store? Yes, there is, and that is the feeling you get when you enter adulthood with your credit score in tact, so ditch the plastic and stick to spending only money you actually have. Damaging your credit now will lead to a long list of uphill battles: from making it more difficult to rent an apartment, to paying much higher interest rates on car loans, to lowering your chances of landing a good job. We know, we know, that shirt is so cute and it's on sale and you're jacked up on an iced blended mocha - but before you whip out that magic card, take a deep breath and remind yourself: It's. Not. Free. Money.
Medical professionals have long been aware of the link between exposure to UV Rays and skin cancer, but that hasn't done much to damper the growth of indoor tanning salons. In the state of Florida, for example, there are more tanning salons then there are McDonalds or Bank of Americas. As many as one in three teen girls has tanned at least once, but this "quick beauty fix" puts users at serious risk for skin cancer. Tanning also leads to premature aging, and you're going to want to look at least as good for your wedding someday as you do for that school dance, so wake up to the dangers of tanning beds, and embrace some sunless tanning options instead.
Biting your nails
Nail biting is a nervous habit that is something akin to scratching an itchy wound. You know you're only making things worse, but the impulse to do it is stronger than your desire to have hands that don't look like they were mauled my ravenous piranhas. The reality is, though, that putting the kibosh on biting won't get any easier with time, nor will the burden of shelling out countless dollars on acrylics and gels (which just further damage nails.) Knock it off now. A lifetime of munching off your manicures totally bites.
Over plucking your brows
It all starts so innocently, with a quick trim of a couple wayward hairs. Next thing you know, you're evening out the other brow, then evening out the first brow to match with that one. And so it goes, until you're left with a bare forehead and drawn on brows that make you appear permanently surprised. The damage from over plucking may be permanent, "Thin or sparse brows can be the result of over-plucking from a young age," says Dr. Adel Rammel, Chief Scientific Officer of Indeed Labs. Do yourself a favor and have your brows professionally waxed or threaded, and keep up your shape by tweezing only truly stray brows. If you don't know when to say when, consider covering brows with a concealer rather than plucking.
Cheating your way through English class
Ugh. "The Grapes of Wrath is such a long book," and borrowing your friend's "CliffsNotes" is such an easy process. Plus, who cares about The Dust Bowl when the guy you have a crush on just liked two of your pics on Instagram?! Barely scraping by in English class is as easy as spotting symbolism in "Lord of the Flies," but later in life, paying bills and keeping a roof over your head will likely keep you too busy to finally read the classics, so do it now while it's your only job. Trust us. No one is ever going to want to talk to you at a cocktail party about how you totally know who wrote that Yik Yak.
Making decisions based on guys
It's Friday night, and the world is your oyster. So why are you on hour three of watching him watch things get blown up in a video game? When you like someone, it's understandable to want to share interests with them, but nothing good comes from planning your night or your taste in music around what he's into. Getting into the habit of making choices based on a guy could prevent you from discovering things that you are truly passionate about, which could lead to everything from the career of your dreams to a hobby that you will enjoy over the course of your entire life. Plus, any guy who likes you because of your ability to sit there silently while he watches the game probably isn't "the one."
Apologizing when things aren't your fault.
Sorry, but it's time to stop saying sorry so much. From apologizing when someone else bumps into you to prefacing an opinion that you think might not be popular, women in general apologize much more frequently than their male counterparts. According to some studies, this is because women perceive more things as offensive than men do, but regardless of the motivation, apologizing unnecessarily can be toxic to your progress in school or the workplace because it "Puts (you) in a subservient position and makes people lose respect for you," says executive coach Bonnie Marcus. If you're in the habit of saying sorry too frequently, don't apologize - it's likely society's fault. "Women are socialized from an early age to focus on relationships and nurturing. Any sign of strength can be off-putting, so they’re conditioned to soften communication that can be construed as assertive or aggressive," says business consultant Kathryn D. Cramer. Do your best to kick this habit now, though, and you'll be kicking ass in the office a few years from now.
Allowing a guy to come between you and a girlfriend.
Your hormones are raging, and so is every dude filled party you go to, so it's understandable that you have boys on the brain pretty much non-stop. Getting into the habit of harming your friendships in the name of chasing a guy is worse news than a zit on prom night, however. The thing about men is that literally half of the world's population is one, and you can and will find another one when this all-consuming crush that has you obsessively listening to Ed Sheeran and doodling hearts passes. Your girlfriends, however, are one in a million, and will be there for you after dude blows you off via text message. Getting in the habit of putting di--s before chicks could cause you to lose out on friendships that you will mourn the loss of long after things fizzle with what's-his-face.