What is the Meaning Behind “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran

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In June 2021, Ed Sheeran released the song “Bad Habits”. But what is the meaning behind “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran?

Here’s the music video if you want to take a look at the video and listen to the song first.

Similar: What is the meaning behind “Player of Games” by “Grimes”?

The meaning

This song by Ed Sheeran is undoubtedly about bad habits such as substance abuse (alcohol and different drugs), partying, staying up too late, and not being able to control oneself to sustain such behavior.

My bad habits lead to late nights, endin’ alone
Conversations with a stranger I barely know
Swearin’ this will be the last, but it probably won’t
I got nothin’ left to lose, or use, or do

My bad habits lead to wide eyes stare into space
And I know I’ll lose control of the things that I say
Yeah, I was lookin’ for a way out, now I can’t escape
Nothin’ happens after two, it’s true, it’s true
My bad habits lead to you

In the way he has written the song, he speaks to bad habits or more precisely, bad substances, calling them “you”.

Every time you come around, you know I can’t say no

Every time the sun goes down, I let you take control

Why now?

Ed Sheeran actually recently became a father (last year), and like most responsible parents, he had to clean up his act. In an interview, he told Independent that his daughter has been his biggest motivation to give up his bad habits. It also helped him lose a lot of weight and get into a much healthier routine.

I would guess that becoming a father, and sobering up, helped him reflect on his past behaviors, and caused him to create this song. Although, bad habits and experiencing the difficulty of breaking out of them isn’t uncommon probably in our modern world.

If you’re interested in forming good habits for yourself, take a look at this article: Atomic Habits (Review + Quotes) – Success From Daily Habits


I always think it’s interesting how human nature makes us drawn to doing things that we rationally don’t want to. Falling into bad habits such as substance abuse, partying, porn addiction, and eating junk food are all caused by how our brains work and the reward system in our biology. And the interesting thing is how our biology can have such a stronghold on us.

To break habits, we often need to really use our rationality, self-awareness, consciousness, and “better” selves. But our brains and our minds are a part of our body as well, and it’s weird how different parts of the same body/entity have to combat each other.

I think that of course if you’re hurting too much by your bad habits, then it’s a good idea to stop. But a part of me also thinks: isn’t it okay with having a few bad habits? I mean, we’re all gonna die anyway and there’s not really an objectively right or wrong way to live life.

I personally can relate to the feeling of wanting to reduce my intake of substances and avoid hangovers, but at the same time I always think to myself, “I’m young, I’m having fun, why shouldn’t I?”. Perhaps it’s a part of my immaturity that’ll go away with age, or perhaps it’s my personality. Anyway, I hope I’ll keep continuing having fun all my life, even if it’s without any harmful substances.

One curious thing I noticed was that he specifically mentions 2:00 as the cut-off time. And it’s the third time this week I’ve heard someone talk about 2:00 as the crossover from a normal and fun social night, until something unnecessary and unhealthy. I wonder what’s so special about 2? I sometimes even go to bed at 3 after working the entire night. But perhaps I should try going home from parties at 2.

Nothin’ happens after two, it’s true, it’s true

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