“It was the rush hour traffic!” Hameeda complained as she arrived late for work. It wasn’t the first time she’d been late for work. Every time her manager tried to discuss it, Hameeda had an excuse.
Hameeda’s habit of being late to work not only reflects her tardiness but is also a sign of disrespect towards her coworkers who reach work on time. This habit can seriously hurt her reputation in the workplace.
We all do things repeatedly and regularly without even thinking about it. You may not be aware of certain habits, work it isn’t impossible to identify and overcome them. With the right attitude, you can develop life-changing habits that’ll lead to self-improvement.
Why Are Habits So Hard To Break?
Habits are an automatic response to a situation, which is the result of repetition and learning. Habits can be both good and bad—reading, waking up early and meditation are a few examples of good habits. Bad habits such as procrastination, dishonesty and smoking can jeopardize our physical and mental well-being. It may be difficult to eliminate bad habits but you can always replace them and build new ones.
Charles Duhigg, an American journalist and author, explains the logic behind habit formation in his book The Power of Habit. Duhigg says changing habits isn’t as easy as it sounds because our brain becomes comfortable with habit loops. There are three elements of a habit loop:
Anything that triggers the habit
Physical, mental or emotional behavior
Your brain decides whether a loop is worth remembering for future scenarios
Here’s an example that’ll show you how a habit loop works:
Whenever your phone buzzes (cue), you check it immediately (routine). You read it (reward) even if it isn’t anything important. Now, every time your phone buzzes, whether you’re alone or talking to someone, you’re likely to check your phone immediately.
You need to learn how to change bad habits and break free of them because they have the potential to interfere with your life goals.
How To Change Your Habit
If you want to break out of unhealthy habit loops, here are some effective tips that can help you embrace life-changing habits.
Label Your Habits
The first step to changing habits is to distinguish between good and bad habits. You can identify unhealthy life patterns through self-observation. You can even label the impact that a habit has on your mental and emotional well-being. For example, when you wake up early, does it make you feel productive? If your answer is yes, continue repeating the habit.
Try To Visualize Change
We often create mental images of the things we want to achieve. This mental rehearsal is also known as visualization—where we imagine our objectives. By visualizing change, you’ll learn how to change habits with greater efficiency. For example, if you visualize yourself being punctual and meeting deadlines, the continuous reminder will push you to pursue your goals with greater enthusiasm.
Give Yourself A Second Chance
The process of changing habits is continuous and requires patience and perseverance. There will be times when you slip up and are unable to make a difference. You need to keep reminding yourself that mistakes are a part of the learning process. Avoid negative thoughts and self-talk to stay dedicated and work towards change.
If Not Eliminate, Then Replace
As we’ve already established, we can’t eliminate every habit. However, if you can’t eliminate a bad habit, try replacing it. Let’s take Hameeda’s example. If she wants to avoid being late at work, she needs to plan her day. She can think of shorter routes to work or leave home ahead of the rush-hour traffic. Even the smallest adjustments count!
Embrace The Harappa Habits!
Harappa Education has identified five core habits that will change your life. The course Practicing Excellence under the Lead Habit will teach you everything about self-development. The 1% Rule will help you become self-aware and enable you to make small improvements to your life. The key to change lies in your hands. Practice and pursue excellence!
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