A hard habit to break?

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Do an internal inventory and I am sure you will see some habits that you hold. Some can be positive and some not so positive. What is a positive habit? Being punctual, always doing what you say you will do or not gossiping. Not so positive habits could be the opposite such as always being late or not completing what you set out to do or to talk ill of people. What I find though is that sometimes we have a bad habit and we don’t even realize it is a bad habit. It is not uncommon for me to be sitting and listening to someone and they are talking about how someone was late for a meeting and how insensitive that was. Little do they understand is that they have also been late in the past but never reflect on that part. It is easy to find fault with others but not with ourselves.

Why is it important to understand our habits and try to change a bad habit into a good one? Sean Covey said: “We become what we repeatedly do.” What I share, two words to consider that matter…character and reputation. Character is who you are and reputation is people’s perception of who you are. You must guard those because they become your brand. If you are always late, then people will expect that of you and that you really don’t value other people’s time. Sometimes you have to take a good look at your habits and consider what message it is conveying. You must be honest with yourself when it comes to this point and not make excuses. It is very easy to start shifting the blame on others or the situation. You must take personal responsibility for the actions that happen. It is about acknowledgement.

If you have a recognized habit, what can you do about that? One of my students told me that he wanted to get up earlier because his habit was to go to bed late and get up late. He wanted to change this so that he could enjoy more of the day by getting up earlier. If there are any short term habits you have, it usually takes 14 days to break the cycle and your body to get used to it. The idea is to be committed to the goal of breaking the cycle. In this case, consciously set the alarm for when you want to wake up and don’t hit the snooze button. For larger issues and changes, it is not so simple. The first step is to recognize that you need to make a change. Then enlist others to help you on this. If there is a will to change, then there is a will to succeed. It is not easy. For me personally, I have to get back to writing and finishing my book. My way out of this is to say that it is not ‘if’ I finish the book but rather ‘when’ will I finish my book. I am committed to get this done. Start small and look for the small victories and successes and that sets a pattern of success. Realize that you can break a habit…the most difficult part is to recognize it is a habit worth changing and then commit to it. I think this quote says it best: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” ― Samuel Johnson

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