Habits - We all have them

Habits - We all have them

Like it or not, we all have habits, good ones and bad ones. Some good habits could be improved and some bad habits should go away. In the workplace, good habits will help you achieve your goals and allow you to succeed when working on projects.

Habits are defined as a regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. By definition, it easy to see how good or bad habits can help you in the workplace.

Urban legend states a new habit can be formed in 21 days, although this is certainly possible, it is not the norm. If you do something every day for 21 days, it certainly becomes routine and will soon become a habit. However, research conducted by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, determined that on average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally's study, it took anywhere from 18 to 254 days for people to form a new habit. 

In other words, if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is, it will probably take you anywhere from two to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days.

Bad habits
Like it or not, we all have bad habits. Perhaps, you smoke or drink too much. In the work place, bad habits are those that keep you from getting promoted or maybe even get you terminated. If you are habitually late to work or getting projects completed, then eventually, you will need to make a choice to get better or you will find yourself looking for another job.

Bad habits at work may not seem to be that drastic. The length of time you spend on your lunch break or the absence of tracking your goals are a sampling of bad habits. Some excuses you make, explaining why you did not get a project completed, can become a habit. If you are known as a person who does not get things done, your chances of being passed over for a promotion increases. Other bad habits can be abundant. Consider the effects of lying, negativity and poor body language.

Good habits
We all have good habits, like waking up and exercising or something as simple as wearing a watch. Good habits include time management and the discipline it takes to get projects done on time. In the bestselling book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey, Covey outlines seven habits successful people regularly perform. Two recognized habits include being proactive and sharpening the saw or growth. Both of these habits will not only get you recognized but promoted as well. Employers search out proactive employees, who do not wait for something to go wrong or until they're are asked to do something. If you see something needs to be done, then do it. If you are trying to learn how to do something that will benefit both you and your organization, then its is a win-win for everyone.

With a high percentage of an un-engaged workplace, if you have some positive habits, you get noticed and advancing should not be very challenging. Realizing of course, not every company or department has an issue with engagement, so improving your good habits will be imperative to get ahead and succeed.

Good habits in the work place                                  
Just as there are a multitude of bad habits in the workplace, there are just as many good habits in the workplace. Here are few good ones to consider picking up:

  • Take Criticism Well ​
  • ​Don't Gossip
  • Be a Problem Solver, Not a Complainer
  • Put Your Phone Away While at Work
  • Never Say, "It's Not My Job"
  • Ask Questions
  • Be Organized
  • Prepare for Your Day

Although everyone has them, both good and bad, habits play an important part in your performance and how people interact with you in the workplace. It is key to have good habits to get your work completed and to be recognized. Breaking bad habits is just as hard as starting new, good ones. It does not happen overnight and will take some effort. In the end, you will be rewarded for the improvements you have made.

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