I’m preparing a presentation for a counselor’s conference this spring about how therapy changes the brain’s neuroprocessing function. It’s an interesting topic and I’m enjoying the research. One of the interesting findings is how much people rely on their habits. A habit is defined as a behavior you do without giving much thought to it. Think of your morning routine or driving your car.
Many of your habits are good. However, you have some habits that are not helpful or effective. When you are confronted with certain situations, you automatically go to a useless behavioral habit you’ve developed. No thinking required; you just do it. The problem is that these habits limit you and your career.
Some of the “not helpful and ineffective” habits I’ve heard sound like these:
1. You believe you are not worth your billing rate, so you may have a habit of not discussing your fees with your clients.
2. You believe that any time there is tension in a relationship, it is threatening, so you may have a habit of not speaking the truth (respectfully) when giving feedback or when you should say no to a request.
3. You believe your outbursts are simply expressing yourself, so you may have a habit of spewing your intensity without any regard of how it affects others.
4. You believe you have to be perfect, so you may procrastinate until you are assured you will get it right—at the expense of missed deadlines.
5. You believe you have to control everything, so your habit of not delegating overwhelms you with work others could/should do.
So, instead of relying on your unproductive habits to get you through the day, think of better ways to engage situations and, when they present themselves, interrupt your old habit with a new approach and behavior. It will take thought, practice and time, but you will soon adopt new habits that really work. All because you interrupted your bad habits.