Bad habits at work can be just as hard to break as bad habits at home. Bad work habits can be especially detrimental, both to yourself and your reputation at the office. So how do you break them? In stages, of course!
First, Realize the Change That Needs to Happen
Before anyone can break a habit or create a new one, they have to accept and realize the changes that need to occur. This often includes hearing about the change, considering it, and making plans to accomplish it. There are some things you can just jump into, but you’ll have a better shot at successfully breaking the habit by getting a plan together.
Replace Old Habits With New Ones
Working in an office means much of your day boils down to routine. So you’ll need to find something to replace your old habit, or risk falling back into it. Perhaps you like to gossip with a coworker while getting your morning coffee. You could alter your routine to bring coffee from home and go for a quick lap around the building instead.
If you’re breaking the habit on your own, your version of help might be post-it notes with reminders about what you’re trying to accomplish. You could also place pictures of what you do or don’t want the end result to be, whichever one you consider more motivating.
Other methods for help can involve your coworkers. Most habits have certain triggers, either a stressor you often encounter or a pleasant activity you might participate in a little too often. Find those triggers and ask the coworkers who are likely to be around when the triggers occur to keep an eye out for the habit you’re working on. Sometimes a gentle reminder from a friend is all you need to keep yourself under control.
Stay on Track
Now that you’re on the right track, you have to maintain the new practice. Since 50% of your everyday life is habitual, old habits are easy to fall back into, meaning the upkeep is important. Everyone falls off the wagon now and then, but the key is to get right back on. Creating a strong alternative to your original pattern is paramount to breaking the cycle.
Since you’re working so hard at this, take time for little celebrations. They don’t have to be big, but be sure the merriment won’t take you back to your old ways. In other words, don’t celebrate healthy eating by going out for fast food!
Once the new habit is well established, you have to stick to it. Your celebrations will get farther and farther apart until you don’t even need them anymore. Once you’ve reached this point, the occasional break back to old ways doesn’t even pose a threat, because you’ve officially broken your bad habit!
Remember, no one likes change, but it’s still good for us! Don’t let your bad habits ruin your office life—create habits you’re proud of, and your work will reflect your positive changes.