Creating new habits can be pretty easy if you follow the correct process. However, if you haven’t got the right plan in place, kicking your old (potentially bad) habits can be very difficult. As entrepreneurs, it’s natural for us to get stuck in a pattern of habits, even if they aren’t beneficial to our lives or businesses. For example, going to sleep late, overworking, etc. However, there are some easy ways to get rid of your bad habits as well as forming new, beneficial habits.
In this article, I’m going to cover how to get rid of your old habits and how to start forming new positive habits that can significantly improve your life as an entrepreneur.
Getting Rid of Your Old Habits
Once you’re aware of an old, non-beneficial habit, you need to look into it and find what’s causing this pattern of behavior.
Finding the Root Cause
Finding the root cause of a particular habit isn’t always easy, but it’s probably the most important step in kicking a bad habit. To find the root cause, you need to look back and try to remember a time when you didn’t have the habit you’re trying to get rid of.
Take overworking for example. Many entrepreneurs can overwork, but the root cause may be that you don’t feel like you’re doing enough for your clients or customers, so you overwork in the attempt to keep your clients happy.
Another root cause for overworking may be the fear of not progressing or achieving enough in your chosen field, so you overwork to overcompensate for the feeling that you’re not good enough.
Once you have a good idea what the root cause of your habit might be, you can then look at unwinding the pattern of behaviors.
Unwinding the Pattern
Unwinding the pattern of behaviors essentially means breaking down your habit into smaller actions.
If you’re in the habit of smoking, you’d break down the habit into several stages that start from you wanting a cigarette because of a specific reason, to finishing the cigarette and throwing the leftover cigarette butt in the bin.
- A stressful event happens at work.
- You feel like you need a cigarette.
- Pick up a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
- Walk outside.
- Open the packet of cigarettes and take one out.
- Light a cigarette.
- Smoke the cigarette.
- Once finished, you put the cigarette butt in the bin.
- Return inside to continue your work.
Now you’ve broken the habit into stages, you can work backward and stop each action one-by-one. So maybe you’d start by not finishing a full cigarette, then you decide not to walk outside, then you’d stop the action of picking up your pack of cigarettes.
These micro steps help you to counter your habit at each stage, but as they’re smaller steps they don’t require as much effort as simply telling yourself to stop smoking altogether.
We’ve used the example of smoking, but you can apply this to any habit you’d like to change. Think of your particular habit and break it down into as many steps as possible.
Prepare to Battle Your Old Habits
It’s normal for you to have trouble when stopping habits, so be prepared to fight your old habits as they will try to creep back into your life.
The best way to minimize the change of a habit recurring is to replace the old habit with a new, more positive habit.
Forming New Habits
Forming new habits can be quite easy as long as you remain consistent. One of the best ways to start a new habit is by starting small.
In the beginning, it’s best to not put too much pressure on yourself to form a new habit that requires a lot of commitment.
So, starting with a smaller commitment will improve your chances of forming a new habit.
The best way to do this is to break the habit you want to form into smaller pieces, like how discussed unwinding a bad habit earlier in this article.
Breaking Down the Habit
Breaking down a new habit into small steps will make it much easier for you to make smaller commitments and therefore form your new habit more easily.
For example, if you want to get into the habit of cycling to work to get fitter, you can break the habit into smaller steps:
- After getting dressed, you go into your garage.
- Pick up your cycling helmet and put it on.
- Get your bike and check the type pressure.
- Wheel the bike outside.
- Sit on your bike and put one foot on the pedal.
- Proceed to pedal to the bottom of your road,
- You then continue your journey work.
By making smaller commitments to each step, you’ll find it much easier to form the habit of cycling to work.
Even though breaking down the habit into smaller steps is key, you still need to be persistent.
Ensure that you’re making these small commitments daily, so you don’t put them off for another day. If you put off making any commitments, this can snowball into a habit within itself — the habit of not following through with your commitments.
So, it’s crucial that you consistently take action to help form a new pattern of behavior that lasts.
New Year’s Resolutions
Have you currently got any new year’s resolutions? Now might be the perfect time to look at changes that you want to make and implement the habit-forming strategy outlined above.
If you’re looking to improve other aspects of your life as an entrepreneur, read through some of the latest posts on the Intentionally Inspirational blog.
Written Lewis James