5 Ways To Break Bad Habits

Do you have any habits that could harm your work or career? Or do you have a habit that is just plain annoying? Maybe you can't put down that Blackberry for more than two minutes, or you procrastinate finishing important work tasks. You might even let habits like watching too much television or excessive Internet surfing stop you from connecting to those people that are present and important in your daily life. Bad habits like these can and will damage relationships and career goals, and set you on a bad path.

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 space and energy around us. 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.

If you need to bust a bad habit, here are 5 simple steps to make the process easier:

1: Define Bad Habit and Commit to Change - Before you can change anything, you need to identify the habit you want changed and make sure you are truly committed to changing your behavior

2: Disrupt the Habit - When you become aware of what you are doing, stop habit from becoming mindless and force yourself to have to think about what you are doing. Try and do something different in that moment.

3: Create a Habit Diary - Make a note of the date, time of day, your mood, where you were, what you were thinking and what your motivation was. This will help you get to know yourself better and identify triggers and patterns in your behavior.

4: Replace Bad Habit with Smart Habit - If your habit is reaching for the cookies at midnight, reach for a healthy snack instead, or a glass of water.

5: Reward Yourself - You need to acknowledge and positively reinforce your 'good' behavior. But remember, don't reward yourself with something that will put you on track with the bad behavior again. If you are trying to curb a bad spending habit, don't reward yourself with a shopping trip!