Did you know that 90 percent of our normal behavior is based
Most people don’t consider the significance of their habits.
But they should because habits determine your future … your
level of success.
A habit is something you do over and over again. Eventually, your
repetitive actions become easy and automatic. Take, for example,
learning to drive a car with a standard gearshift. At first, it
can be difficult managing to synchronize the clutch with the accelerator
so you don’t jerk or let the engine die. But with practice,
you learn to change gear smoothly. And eventually, you can do it
without even thinking about it.
You can change bad habits!
Your habits are a product of your environment. Fortunately, you
can reprogram yourself and change bad habits into good ones. But
be prepared to be patient. It can take days or weeks to break a
bad habit, depending on how long you’ve had it. There’s
an old saying that it can take 21 days to break a habit. However,
I’ve found with my clients that if you’re really determined
you can change it a lot faster - even in a day!
Here’s a list of bad habits people commonly have. Do you
have any of these habits?
- Not returning phone calls
- Being late for meetings and appointments
- Not attending to paperwork quickly and efficiently
- Allowing bills to go unpaid, resulting in late penalties
- Talking instead of listening
- Taking home work with you
- Not taking enough time off for family and fun – guilt-free
- Procrastinating about everything
- Not spending enough time with your children
- Forgetting someone’s name within 60 seconds of being
How to change your habits
So how do you successfully change a habit? Using smokers as an
example, here’s a simple, step-by-step formula to help you:
- Clearly define your unproductive habits- You must
think about the consequences of your bad habit. The impact of
smoking may not show up today, tomorrow or next month, but it
will certainly impact you years down the road.
- Define your new successful habit - Motivate yourself
by thinking of all the benefits and rewards for adopting your
new successful habit. You will have better health and feel more
- Create a three-part action plan – Apply three
steps that can help you stick to your new habit. A smoker, for
example, could use hypnosis therapy, healthy snacks and exercise
to help kick cigarettes.
Here’s another example, using one of my clients we’ll
- Unproductive habits - Tom was in sales and wanted
to start calling a list of leads to generate more business. But
he allowed interruptions, procrastination and lack of focus to
prevent him from reaching this goal. If his behavior continued,
his financial well-being would suffer.
- New successful habit – If Tom became more focused
and consistent with his prospecting, he would make more money.
- Three-part action plan – Tom obtained a target
list of people to call. He blocked out two hours every morning
to contact them before he became sidetracked by other tasks.
He also asked his assistant not to interrupt him with non-urgent
matters during his cold calling time.
Once you stop a bad habit, you must replace it with another habit
for it to become your new normal behavior. Remember this saying: “If
you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep
getting what you’ve always got.”
But by systematically improving one behavior at a time, you can
dramatically improve your overall lifestyle. This can include anything:
your health, income and relationships. So start working on your
bad habits today!
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