Have you ever thought your business would be so much more successful if you could stop doing X. Then you find yourself doing the exact thing you wish you could change? We all have bad business habits we want to change, and sometimes those habits directly impact our business success. The good news is that you can break any habit; it just takes time and effort.
These nine tips can help you make the changes needed to break a persistent habit.
Recognize What Triggers Your Bad Habit
Habits develop over time, and typically, triggers in your life cause you to fall back on a bad habit. Identifying these triggers will make changing the circumstances around the pattern easier.
For example, if you spend a lot of time on social media when you should be working, what happens right before you open Instagram? Are you feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list? Are you avoiding other tasks you do not enjoy? Take note of things like:
- When and where does the habit occur?
- Is there a specific time of day?
- How are you feeling before giving into the habit?
- Is anyone else involved?
Identify How the Bad Habit Affects You
Your habits, whether good or bad, serve you in some way. A good habit creates progress, and a bad habit creates roadblocks. Spend some time identifying what the habit you want to change is doing for you and how it negatively impacts you and your business.
Let’s stick with the social media example. Logging onto Instagram to avoid your to-do list alleviates some pressure momentarily. It is an escape, and taking your mind off high-stress tasks can feel good. On the other hand, it also creates more stress when you get back on your to-do list. You have wasted some time, and now the tasks might be even more pressing, creating more pressure.
Take an honest look at the effects of your habits on your business and how it would benefit you to change the habit. This is your why, and it will help you to stay motivated.
Start with Small Changes
If you are an all-or-nothing thinker, you might make all the changes simultaneously. This is a recipe for failure! If you spend an hour a day on social media, it is not realistic to just stop. All-or-nothing thinking will make you feel terrible when you inevitably slip up.
Instead of making all the changes at once, make a small change. For example, in the first week, you record your time on social media. Week two, commit to reducing time on social media by 10 minutes per day and so on. Small changes add up to significant results!
Create an Alternate Habit
Breaking a habit can be easier if you replace it with a more beneficial practice. If social media gives you a break from work, you want to avoid replacing it with work. Instead of logging into social media to distract yourself, take a walk, or read a chapter of a book for pleasure. Remember to start small!
Set up Reminders
Creating visual reminders helps reinforce habit-breaking and habit-making. You can use sticky notes or alarms on your phone to remind you to work toward your new habit. If you are trying to break a pattern such as time on social media, you can create reminders by constantly logging out of your platforms or changing your password to a phrase that reminds you that you want to limit time. Making it more difficult to log in gives you a moment to think and assess if you will log in.
Change Your Surroundings
Often habits, good or bad, are a result of our surroundings. Bad habits are often the easiest route, and changing our surroundings goes a long way to breaking the habit. If you are trying to break a social media habit, removing the apps from your phone can be a change that helps reduce screen time. Or, if you find your mind wandering to Instagram when you are feeling overwhelmed, step away from your desk for a moment. Changing surroundings can help change habits quickly!
Breaking a habit is challenging work! Let go of the thought that you must be perfect to make a change. A pattern is EASY to slip back into; that is why it is a habit. It took time to develop the behavior; it will take time to change it. Try to prepare for slip-ups mentally and plan how you will learn and move on. A slip-up might be an indication that you need to change your approach. Mistakes are feedback; learn and adjust and then keep going!
Be Patient with Yourself
A figure floats around that it takes 21 days to create or break a habit. In reality, it depends on a variety of factors.
- How long have you had the habit?
- What need does your habit fulfill?
- Do you have support to break the habit?
If there are strong reasons you have the habit, it can be tougher to break. It also depends on the person. Be patient with yourself! The most important thing is forward progress.
Celebrate all Progress
When making a change, please don’t wait until it is done to celebrate your progress. Celebrate any progress! Acknowledging our accomplishments creates momentum and a desire to keep going. So, recognize the changes and credit yourself for all your hard work.
Most people have habits they want to change in their personal lives, but things can also hold you back in your professional life. If you have bad business habits you want to change and it relates to your business finances, get in touch! Our VIP days are perfect for a deep dive into your numbers and how you can create new habits to reach your financial goals.
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