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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Eliminating Bad Habits

Robert Stevenson Blog - Bad Habit Arrow pointing one way and good habit arrow facing to the right

We all have bad habits that could be ruining our careers. The key to success in business is eliminating bad habits and developing good ones. English novelist Charles Reade, I think said it best when he wrote: “Sow a thought and you reap an act; Sow an act and you reap a habit; Sow a habit and you reap a character; Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

Why is it that some people succeed while others fail? That answer seems to elude most people. Author Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “We all need an education in the obvious.” Our problem is sometimes we fail to see, admit and/or identify what is really obvious to others; OUR BAD HABITS. It has been proven time and time again that successful people are creatures of “good habits.” So, what could be holding you back from reaching your goals is an education in the obvious; you NOT identifying your bad habits. Over the years in training workshops I have conducted, I have collected a great deal of material on good and bad habits. Let me share with you some of the most common bad habits my attendees have identified:

A List of Bad Habits

So, how do we go about fixing these bad habits? Have a meeting with yourself and identify “your” bad habits or ask a friend. You really need to get honest with yourself. Come up with at least five and then decide which one will help you the most if you eliminate it. Now concentrate on eliminating it … then move on to the next one.

Starbucks spends hours upon hours developing powerful habits to prepare their people for the onslaught of customers. They have found that following “disciplined habits” will enable their people to DEAL with almost any challenge they may face. Each first-year employee will spend over 50 hours in the classroom and more time at home studying workbooks or conversing with mentors learning these HABITS.

If I had to choose just one key factor that is necessary to be successful and help fix these bad habits, it would be DISCIPLINE. There are many other factors involved in becoming successful, such as ... commitment, study, preparation, passion, practice, attitude, persistence, character, and integrity ... but to make it all come together and work, you have to have DISCIPLINE. Discipline forces you to get out of bed when you don’t feel like it or, put in the extra time and effort when everyone else has called it quits. Discipline is the glue that holds it all together and what separates the good from the great.

Discipline is about being able to make the tough decisions, not succumbing to what is popular. Discipline is about being early, doing more than expected, taking nothing for granted, listening to all the facts, getting up every time you get knocked down, and following-up on everything. Discipline is about having a RELENTLESS INTENSITY to get it done. Don’t dwell on the task – dwell on the outcome. You will find that by looking forward to the outcome it will help to inspire, create, and produce an even greater effort.

When things aren’t going quite right, when a promotion passes you by, when you didn’t get chosen for that special project or you fail at something ... most of the time the fault lies with our own lack of SELF-DISCIPLINE. Before you blame others … look at yourself first. Success has a great deal to do with discipline, so make it a HABIT to work on “you” just a little bit every day.




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