Then there are those habits that are bad like nail biting, finger sniffing and nose picking. Eww.
Habits have been coming up an awful lot in my Adult acting class lately. We have quite a few new students and it’s a little like starting over as far as some of the acting basics. One of the first things that I do with them is break their bad acting habits: venting, picking, lack of focus and so on and so forth. This is usually a whole class (sometimes more than one) worth of mirror and body work and the results are completely worth it.
The funny thing about making other people confront their habits is that you start to see your own as well. After years of acting training I’ve become neurotically self aware, but just because you know you do something doesn’t mean that you know you do it ALL THE TIME! I try very hard to make sure that I’m doing the same work that my students do and when I started to notice what my habits are… It’s scary! Even though it was uncomfortable I ended up really glad to know, and thereby eliminate, a few of those habits. This really illustrated to me the need to really take a look at yourself every once in a while, both literally and figuratively. We’re always working on ourselves, sometimes we don’t even realize it. I doubt that any one of us is the same person we were even just a year ago. It’s neat to see that progress. Now I feel like I’m getting all “self-helpy” and rambling so I’m going to quit while I’m, perceivable, ahead.