We all have habits. Habits are what we do everyday. We get up at the same time. We eat the same cereal. We read the same newspaper, every day. That is a habit. Let’s look at some English idioms related to habits. Good habits are acceptable although sometimes a little strange (like standing on your head before having breakfast) but bad habits are usually socially unacceptable: smoking in public places or picking your nose!!
8 English Idioms Related to Habits
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CREATURES OF HABIT
This is often used to define all of us. Everyone has habits. Some good and some bad but we all have them and therefore we can all be described as being creatures of habit, meaning we do the same things in the same way.
ex. I am such a creature of habit when it comes to my morning routine.
BREAK THE HABIT
Good habits are accepted but bad habits are not and people are encouraged to stop them.
ex. Try and get him to stop whistling in the house, it is bad luck. Try to get him to break the habit.
Just do it! Try to break the habit of excessive thinking.
BY FORCE OF HABIT
When we do something frequently and often (like all habits) and when we do something without really thinking then we can say it was done by force of habit.
ex. Michael retired from work 2 weeks ago. He used to get up everyday at 6 am to get ready for work. Now he does not have to but he finds that he still does get up at 6 am by force of habit. It will take a while to stop.
WHY BREAK THE HABIT OF A LIFETIME
This is a rhetorical question. (Something we ask ourselves not expecting an answer of course).
ex. John enjoyed a glass of wine every evening when he came home from the office. His doctor told him he should only drink 2/3 times each week. However, he still poured his glass of wine each evening because he enjoyed it. Why break the habit of a life time he thought!
8 English Idioms related to Habits
KICK THE HABIT
Give up something (usually bad) that you have done for a long time. We are always encouraged to stop bad habits particularly smoking and habits that impact on our health. Advertising against smoking is usually very forceful and strong.
ex. Kick the habit (stop smoking) today!
OLD HABITS DIE HARD
It is hard to stop doing something that someone has been doing for ages.
ex. Mary had stopped eating sweets or biscuits with her morning coffee. She was trying to lose weight and snacking was discouraged. Occasionally she had the urge (desire) to eat one or two as it was hard to give them up completely as she had had sweets with her coffee for over 20 years. Its not easy to stop immediately because “Old habits die hard”.
NIP IN THE BUD
When you want to stop a habit from forming before it gets too serious we use this expression “nip it in the bud”. It means to stop it as soon as you notice it becoming a habit otherwise it will be difficult to stop.
ex. His mother noticed that he was beginning to get up later and later for school everyday. She decided to nip it in the bud as soon as possible and bought him an extra alarm clock so his lateness would not become a habit.
We decided to nip it in the bud before it became unmanageable.
HEAD HIM OFF AT THE PASS
When you want to stop somebody doing something you do not agree with you decide to intervene (stop him) and plan something that will make him stop before he makes a mistake.
ex. David was going to fire (get rid of) our secretary because he thought we did not need her. In fact she was essential as she was well liked by all our clients and often they did business with us because of the way she treated them. We decided to head him off at the pass and get our clients to write to David telling him how important she was. He could not fire her after this.
GET INTO THE HABIT
to begin to do something regularly
ex. Let’s get into the habit of posting original content.
Let’s get into the habit of saying positive things.
Let’s make a habit of learning English! When you are finished learning idioms related to habits, here are some more English idioms for you to remember.
How to speak English fluently and confidently? The answer is very simple – improve your English vocabulary and master English grammar. For more information on useful English Idioms, check out the following links:
Exercises on English idiomatic expressions can be found here