As defined by Dictionary.com, the word habit is a “noun that describes an acquired behavior regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” Habits can be positive and drive results. Nevertheless, bad habits can have adverse effects. Whether it’s the Olympic swimmer who practices every day to perfect his or her craft or the person saying “um” too many times during a meeting, habits impact people and people impact companies. Wouldn’t you prefer to impact your companies in a positive way?
Contrary to the urban myth that it takes 21 days to form a habit, recent studies suggest that it takes an average of 66 days. Although this process can seem like eternity, if you are committed to something that matters to you, it can easily be achieved.
Creating a positive habit begins with understanding the power of the tongue and the will of the mind. I can’t count the times I’ve heard an associate say “I wish I had time to read more” or “I wish I had time to work out,” or even “I don’t have time to do business development.” How is it possible that there are people who accomplish these so called impossible tasks? Anything is possible if you truly believe and invest the time to make it happen. If anyone can achieve these feats, why not you?
Try the following tips to create positive habits or end negative behaviors in your life:
- Write down what you want to accomplish and make that goal or change in your life visible. Seeing this daily will remind you of the change you need to make.
- Share your goal with a friend, co-worker or spouse. Allow these people to hold you accountable in your journey to achieving your desired behavior.
- Lastly, eliminate passive words like “need to,” “should” or “have to” from your vocabulary. Replace them with the active verbs like “WILL” or “WON’T.” It’s that simple.
As I look back at any successful time of my life in business or sports, the power of creating positive habits and following through on them were vital. As a quarterback at Central Washington University, I had a strong work ethic and held my
self accountable to daily workouts in preparation to be at my physical best. Otherwise, I would have ridden the bench and never seen the field. Now as a business professional, I learned many tough lessons when I’ve had to overcome adversity. Whether you lose a big deal with a customer or have a challenging call go sideways – in the end you, have a choice in how you deal with the adversity.
My advice is to keep things simple and remind yourself that when today is over, you can make a positive impact on something or someone tomorrow.
When things are not going well, it’s easy to let the bad habits spiral out of control. It’s so important to show emotional vulnerability by sharing your challenges with a co-worker, friend or significant other. As my college football coach, John Zamberlin said, “Every day you make the choice to get better or worse – no one will ever remain the same.”
You must believe what you do matters and in doing so, more positive habits will be formed and better yet, made to stick!
How do your positive or negative habits impact you? One of my worst habits is my patience which I work to improve daily! If you have advice for me or would like to share your thoughts on my article, please leave a comment as I would love to connect and hear from you.