A few weeks into January and the novelty of setting New Year’s resolutions might already start to wear off. It’s common to start falling back into old habits by February. What if, instead, we could find a way to create new habits to help us stick to our resolutions throughout the rest of the year? A habit is a routine behavior that you often do without even thinking about it. For instance, most people have a habit of brushing their teeth each morning—you don’t have to think about it too much; it’s just part of the morning routine. How could we apply that to creating new workplace habits this year?
How to Create Good Habits that Stick
There is a lot of information out there about how you can break bad habits and make new good habits, but the most important thing to realize is that everyone is different. What works for one person may actually be counterproductive for someone else. Take a moment to reflect on what motivates you (and what doesn’t!) before deciding how to best start your new habits. Then, read these techniques to see if one of them would work for you.
- Use your schedule. If you already have some habits incorporated into your routine, it’s usually easier to add more. For instance, if you want to make a habit of taking vitamins every day, stick your bottle near something that is already part of your routine, such as your coffeepot.
- Stay accountable. Are you the type of person who can hold yourself accountable? Try creating a chart or downloading an app that lets you track your progress. If you’re trying to drink more water, keep yourself in check by documenting how much you are actually drinking. Or, if you’re the type of person who sticks to habits better if someone else is helping keep you responsible, find a buddy who you can check in with each week and discuss progress.
- Use treats! Once you’ve set up a system to schedule and track habits, use treats as incentives to meet your goals. Treats could be something related to your habit like a new water bottle, or could be something that doesn’t cost anything, like spending an afternoon with a friend.
Three Workplace Habits That Will Help You Succeed
- Be punctual. Do you have trouble getting to work on time? Try planning your day a little differently to make sure you arrive as scheduled. Not only will it impress your supervisor, but it will make you feel less hurried and stressed when you get to work.
- Always respond. Do you have a tendency to let the phone go to voicemail, or to wait days before answering an email? This year, make an effort to answer calls and emails, even if it is just to acknowledge that you’ve received them. Responding promptly to a message by saying something like, “Thanks for your message! I’ll get started on this on Wednesday,” makes the other person feel acknowledged and lets them know their needs will be addressed.
- Use the end of the day to prepare for the next. Instead of checking off task after task up until the second you leave work for the day, start taking the last 10-15 minutes of the day to evaluate what you have accomplished so far, and what your priorities for your next day will be. Then, when you arrive the next day, you will be able to go right to work.
For more workplace tips, check back to the Penmac blog each week.