You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have at least one habit they’d prefer to do away with: behavior such as staying up too late, skipping the gym, or having a few too many cups of coffee. In a series of recent polls, YouGov asked Americans to tell us about their so-called bad habits, defined as habits they believe negatively affect their lives and wish they could change.
To identify the types of habits that people deem bad for themselves, we first conducted a poll asking people who identified as having any bad habits to tell us in their own words what those habits are. The responses to this question informed the design of a second, more-exhaustive survey, the results of which are published in this article. In the second survey, conducted over two polls each of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens September 28 — October 10, 2022, we asked 2,000 Americans whether they’d ever had any of 30 randomly selected bad habits —out of 57 polled about overall which bad habits they’d successfully gotten rid of; and how problematic they deem the ones they still have to be. Among the findings: not exercising enough is the most common bad habit, not saving enough money is the most serious, screen-time before bed may be the hardest to quit, and all three are more likely to be claimed by women than by men.
What bad habits have Americans had?
Sloth is a common theme in the troublesome behaviors Americans are most likely to say they’ve made a habit of. The top five are: not exercising enough, not saving enough money, procrastinating, sleeping too little, and staying up late. Gluttony falls in sixth place, with nearly half of Americans saying they’ve been in the habit of eating too much at some point in their lives. Other issues each named by at least one in three Americans include caffeine, screen time, messiness, overwork, and smoking or vaping.