Understand the Root Cause of Bad Habits

“Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit.” -Darren Hard

What is causing you to have bad habits in the first place? Every habit, whether good or bad, comes from some sort of root cause. Many productivity bad habits are caused by two things: Stress and boredom.

Bad habits are a way of dealing with stress and boredom. Everything that turns into a bad habit, from biting your nails to spending wasteful time on the internet can be a response to being stressed or bored.

The stress or boredom is caused by deeper issues that can be difficult to think about. If you’re serious about changing your bad productivity habits, though, you will have to be honest with yourself and deal with the problem that is causing the boredom or stress.

Ask yourself if certain beliefs or reasons are behind the bad habit?

or example, maybe you were taught to always complete the work yourself, on time. So, you spend many hours at your desk, forsaking family and social life to get it done. You beat yourself up when you can’t finish a project when it was due or needed. It might be because of something out of your control but you still feel the guilt of not completing. This belief that you have to complete the work yourself keeps you in the habit of not asking for help.

The solution then, is to delegate small parts of your tasks until you become comfortable delegating more.

Is there something deeper, maybe a fear or limiting belief that’s causing you to continue doing the bad habit?

For example, let’s say first thing every day you open your social media stream as soon you get started at work. It makes you feel connected and not as alone. But instead of helping you get work done, it distracts you, destroys your productivity and overwhelms you with stress.

The solution would be instead to limit the time you are on social media to a specific time of day and certain length of time, say at 4 pm for 30 minutes. Another option is if you want to feel connected is to join friends or coworkers outside of work to catch up with.

Recognizing the causes of your bad habits is crucial if you want to change them.

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