Forming Some Good Habits and Getting Rid of a Few Bad Ones

by Bryan Golden

It’s easy to form habits. But it seems as if developing bad habits takes less effort than good ones. Before I cover how to form good habits, how do you differentiate between good and bad ones? Bad habits include any behavior patterns that are destructive to you, cause harm to others, or prevent you from achieving your goals.

It doesn’t matter what habits other people have. A particular habit may be good for one person but bad for another. John is extremely well organized. He knows how to manage his time so that he gets a lot done. Organization is also important to Robin. However she devotes so much time to it that there is little time left for anything else.

Although both John and Robin are very organized, John is much more productive. Robin is constantly frustrated about not being able to accomplish more. The same habit has different impacts on each of them.

What’s important are your habits and how they impact your life. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your concern should be focused on what you need to do. Consider your current habits. Which ones would you like to get rid of?

One good way of ending a bad habit is by replacing it with a good one. Eric had a bad habit of being late for work. Rather than trying to not be late, he decided to be early. Now he starts getting ready an hour earlier than he had been. With this approach, Eric can be up to an hour “late” and still get to work on time.

All habits take time to form. It is much easier to eliminate a bad habit before it takes hold. Getting into a good habit takes determination, repetition, patience, and persistence. A major cause for disappointment is expecting to get into a good habit overnight.

A habit isn’t formed in one step. It requires a process of successive steps. The first time you attempt a new course of action, it may not take hold. You may revert to your old habits. If you are to succeed, you must push yourself to focus on the new habit.

Sharon wanted to get into better shape. She joined a health club and worked out four times her first week. But she didn’t lose weight or look any different. Feeling discouraged, Sharon didn’t exercise at all for the next three weeks. She realized nothing positive would happen unless she resumed her exercise program. Shannon kept dragging herself back to the club until she began to see results.

When yourare changing your behavior, you may encounter setbacks. If this happens, just get back on track. Janet was a junk food junkie. Her eating habits were impacting her weight. Janet decided to make a change to a more healthy diet.

Janet started off well but had days where she reverted to her old eating habits. Rather than giving up when this happened, she simply got back to her better diet the next day. Even with the setbacks, Janet’s improved diet has enabled her to lose weight and feel better.

In order to form a good habit you must be motivated. If the habit is not appealing or the results are not important to you, you will not be successful. You have to really want the new habit to be part of your life. Good habits bring many rewards, so get started today.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.