4 Steps to Change a Habit That is Holding You Back at Work

Why do we make changes in our lives? After all, change takes effort and if we decide to tackle a habit that we decide we need to break, then the change can be hard work. Making change usually is our way of trying to make improvements in our lives. Make things better. We may have goals to achieve and dreams to fulfill but often we find ourselves practicing a habit that keeps us from reaching our success.

Many people find that they have developed some detrimental habits in their work environment. If you are trying to develop a healthier work experience so that you have less stress in the workplace you must first evaluate your work patterns. Are you working too many hours each week? What can you do to change this? Maybe your work responsibilities consume too much of your thinking even when you are away from the office. Are you working 24/7? There probably is a work habit that is holding you back from being as successful or as efficient in your career. To try and relieve the stress that accompanies these work challenges, you can identify a habit that needs to change and release you from the stranglehold of incomplete accomplishments.

Take charge of your life and reduce your workplace stress

1. Define what change needs to occur.

In your workplace, what habit is holding you back from being successful and needs to change? One way to motivate you to successfully break a bad habit is to clearly define why breaking this habit will provide a positive impact on your work. In other words, define why this change needs to occur. There are many time management strategies that you can use to reduce the stress in the workplace but only tackle one habit change at a time. For example, lets say that you procrastinate and put off tackling your tough work assignments because they may be too involved, you are afraid that you can not adequately complete them, or you simply don't like doing them. Instead you spend too much time on lesser important tasks and have no time left to complete the important assignment. Now you are stressed trying to complete this tough assignment with too little time and too little energy! You find that this is a work pattern that happens all too often. What can you do?

2. Establish a defined goal.

Set a goal for yourself that allows you to change the habit of how you tackle your work. Prioritize your work assignments and tackle the most difficult assignments first. Stop allowing the habit of procrastinating to ruin your successful work accomplishments, by disciplining yourself to complete these tough tasks first and your lesser important tasks later in the day.

3. Develop an action plan.

Take time to define exactly how you are going to break your habit. Are you going to write a list and follow the set of priorities you establish? Are you going to have a colleague help keep you on track of your time? The action plan should take it one day at a time. If you write down a daily priority list that helps you tackle the tasks you don't enjoy at the beginning of your workday, then you can find enjoyment being able to cross these tasks off after you have finished them. Each day repeat your approach of tackling your habit of procrastination and if you find you don't succeed the first day, try again the next. Consider that a habit takes about 6 weeks to establish and probably the same amount of time to change.

4. Reward yourself.

As you begin to work towards breaking a habit, look for the positive results that occur. Taking one step at a time, you can begin to find yourself being more productive and feeling better about yourself and your accomplishments. Even if some days, you handle your priorities better than others, remember that you are changing a pattern that you have followed for a long time. Any success is better than none.

Dr. Ann Gatty is an educator, author, organizational strategist and personal consultant. She has taught in classrooms, museums, boardrooms and employee seminars. She has mentored, coached and written curriculum in organizational leadership, museum studies, and teacher development. From her work and personal experiences, she finds a continuous need among women, of all walks of life, to find answers to questions about their life balance, goals, and health. Dr. Gatty hosts a website, http://www.stress-management-4-women.com. Visit to find answers to your concerns about handling the stresses of motherhood, professional work, teenlife, midlife and time management.

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