Breaking Bad Habits

Overcoming Negative Behaviors

Bad habits, like checking email in meetings, can damage your career.

© iStockphoto/jasantiso

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. – Benjamin Franklin, American inventor and politician

Do you have any habits that could harm your work or career? Maybe you check your email when you're in meetings, turn up late to client visits, or take personal phone calls when you're supposed to be focusing on your work. You might even let habits like watching too much television or excessive Internet surfing stop you working on learning goals in the evenings and at weekends.

Bad habits like these can damage reputations and limit what's possible in our lives and careers, so it's important that we learn how to deal with them.

In this article, we'll look at bad habits in more detail: we'll explore why certain behaviors become habits in the first place, and we'll show you how you can overcome them.

Habits Defined

A habit is an acquired behavior or thought pattern that you have repeated so many times that it has become almost unconscious. As you likely already know, habits can be both helpful and harmful.

Habits are beneficial because they're automatic. We engage in habits without thinking, which frees our brains up to focus on other things. When we have good habits, like arriving at work on time or being optimistic, we create a positive, ingrained forward motion that we don't have to think about. We can then use our energy to focus on things that need our special attention.

However, the same is true of bad habits. We engage in these behaviors without much thought, and they can damage our personal lives and careers without us being aware of them.

There are many bad habits that can negatively affect us in our careers. Here are some examples:...

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