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5 Tips to Breaking Bad Habits


We all have a career-limiting habit. One of the biggest impediments to our upward mobility is a habit we struggle to change.


Social science evidence suggests that we have far less control over our behavior than we think. We are profoundly shaped by outside forces that manipulate, distract, arouse, and impede us.

Joseph Grenny, coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers, and his colleagues studied 5,000 people who had attempted to change a stubborn career-limiting habit. Fewer than 10% succeeded at creating deep and lasting change.

What separated the successful few from the rest?

Those in the study who were best at changing their behavior were the ones  who realized that the best way to control their behavior was to take control of the things that control them, essentially manipulating themselves into seeing a situation differently. 

  1. Manipulate distance.Keep bad influences far away and bring good things closer. For example, if you want to read more technical journals, put them in your newsfeed.

  2. Change your friends.Spend time with people who support good behaviors. If you want to cultivate a positive attitude, have lunch with others who have one.

  3. Schedule yourself.You’re far more likely to spend time working toward a goal if you block out time for it on your calendar.

  4. Train yourself. When attempting to change your behavior, don’t simply try to psyche yourself into changing; rather, coach yourself into it.  See it as a process of systematic skill acquisition.

  5. See your choices positively. If you’re resisting an uncomfortable but necessary conversation, don’t think, “I’ve got to go deal with this mess.” Think, “Why do I want to have this conversation?”

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