Bad habits have a way of holding you back from reaching your goals. This holds true both in your personal and professional life.
For example, you may be in the habit of showing up late for work meetings. While it may not sound like a big deal, it puts you in a bad light among your coworkers and supervisors. Subsequently, it jeopardizes your ability to take on a leadership role within the company.
Rather than let bad habits rule your life in the future, it’s time to take action. Here are five tips for breaking any bad habit (no matter what it may be):
Write Down the Problem
In your mind, you know that your bad habit is causing you trouble. Rather than continue to think about this, write down the many aspects of the problem.
An example of this would be: I tend to interrupt coworkers when they are speaking.
From here, you could add:
- An example of when you last did this
- Potential reasons for the habit
- How this makes other people feel
When you write down the finer details of the problem, it’s easier to implement a solution.
Understand the Trigger
Do your bad habits come and go? By pinpointing the trigger, it’s easier to eliminate each and every habit from your life.
You may find it difficult to understand what triggers your bad habit. This is common. Dig past what you see on the surface, searching for the trigger that brings you to this point. Once you find this, it’s much easier to ditch your habit once and for all.
Remind Yourself of Your Bad Habits
Breaking a bad habit and then “staying the course” can be extremely difficult. This is why you should constantly remind yourself of the habit that you want to eliminate from your life.
When you wake up in the morning, think about the habit and make it clear to yourself that you’ll continue to progress. In other words, get into (and stay in) the right frame of mind.
This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just something that can keep you on the right track.
For example, if you avoid your bad habit for an entire week, treat yourself to a nice dinner or a night at the movies.
Tip: if you don’t reach your goal, don’t give in and reward yourself for simply trying.
Review Your Situation if You Relapse
There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you have broken a bad habit, just to find yourself dealing with a relapse.
No matter how hard you try to avoid this, there’s a good chance it will happen at some point. If it does, review your situation by answering these questions:
- What triggered the relapse?
- Could you have done anything to avoid the relapse?
- What steps can you take in the future to prevent this from happening again?
Every time you relapse, no matter how often it happens, you should address and answer these questions.
Let’s face it: everyone has bad habits. While some people choose to live with these, others take action. Since you want to control your destiny, you should never be content with letting a bad habit drag you down.
Dr. Dave Campbell Commentary:
Good habits and bad habits reflect the personality traits of an individual. In medicine, physicians are held to the standard of practicing with safety, compassion and quality. This professional bar is set high, and rightfully so. Doctors are tasked with the care of sick, disabled and injured people. Hold yourself to a similar high standard when engaged in interpersonal communication. Beat your bad habits by overwhelming them with good. Be safe with others- that is do not cause harm. Be compassionate-think of the other person’s feeling, and treat that person like you would be treated. And hold yourself to the highest standard of quality in your words, work and thoughts. Being a good and thoughtful person will cause bad habits to melt away-naturally.