— 3 min read

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Most people would admit they're not perfect. Everywhere you look, people are trying to improve some aspect of their daily lives. And much of that has to do with ridding themselves of bad habits.

Over the last month alone, I have identified and rectified three areas where I had poor habits – sleep, golf, and my diet. I stopped watching TV or using my laptop in bed, which allowed me to sleep quicker and with a clearer mind. In golf, I switched my grip to negate the club face from opening, which ensured I would hit my shots straighter. Lastly I improved my diet by cutting down on portions and waiting at least 15 minutes before deciding whether or not to grab second helpings.

There is nothing ground breaking about those examples, those symptoms and cures and have been diagnosed over and over again. However, when it comes to the working world, bad habits perpetuate longer as fixes are often unclear, especially when it comes to working within a team.

In his article, "5 Key Steps to Habit Change", Daniel Goldman provides some solutions:

1) Familiarize yourself with the self-defeating habit. Get so you can recognize the routine as it starts, or begins to take over. This might be by noticing its typical thoughts or feelings, or how you start to act.
Examine what situations and scenarios 'cause' your bad habits. It could be time of day/week, certain tasks, interactions, etc.

2) Be mindful. Monitor your behavior –thoughts, feelings, actions – from a neutral, "witness" awareness.
Imagine if someone were observing you, what would they think or say?

3) Remember the alternatives – think of a better way to handle the situation.
Think outside the box.

4) Choose something better – e.g., what you say or do that would be helpful instead of self-defeating.
How you react / your alternative action is key.

5) Do this at every naturally occurring opportunity.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Establishing the solution as routine is the only way to rid yourself permanently of the bad habit

Now that you have the steps, the key is identifying problem areas that could be a result of poor habits. What aspects of your product or deliverable could improve? What part of your workday is not receiving enough attention and why? Are you communicating the problems you are encountering to your co-workers in an effective way?

The key to in determining your bad habits at work and how to correct them, involves some reflection. Plan out your weeks and days and communicate that agenda with your team. By seeing what get accomplished and what doesn't get done, you'll be able to find out what is caused by poor habits. From there, it will just take practice and patience to fix. Just like a golf swing.