Bad Habits Cutting into Your Study Time? Here’s a 4-Step Plan to Tackle Time Killers

Boost productivity by enlisting this process  

Negative habits can often be difficult to break. We know this, just as we know it’s very often these habits may have held us back in the first place.

Maybe you’d like to quit smoking. Or maybe you’d like to find a way to overcome procrastination. Perhaps you’d like to spend your free time engaging in more healthful, productive activities.

If you’re someone who’s interested in career training, it’s clear that you’re already looking for ways to make some positive changes in your life.

The good news is there’s a way to make a clean break from bad habits that may have kept you from reaching your full potential in the past.

The better news is that once you’ve eliminated one bad habit, you can use this exact process to eliminate another.

Let’s take a look at a four-step plan you can use to replace those not-so-great habits with better ones.

Step one: Drill down to root causes

Regardless of what the habit is, it’s helpful to define how or why it might have started. Perhaps the answer is stress, fear of failure,  peer pressure, or perhaps it’s just a learned behavior you’ve acquired along the way.

The bottom line is, if it’s having a negative impact, you probably want to stop it. Identifying what gave rise to the habit can help you separate from it.

Step two: Create a system of rewards

One of the most productive ways to break yourself of a bad habit is by replacing it with a system of rewards. Depending on the habit, you might save money by eliminating it, and that’s money you can spend on something else you might enjoy.

Example: If you go one week without smoking, treat yourself to a nice dinner or a small gift at the end of that week.

Let’s assume the problem is a lack of focus or a tendency to leave a mess. The same philosophy applies. For instance, if you focus on completing a minor task for an hour, you can reward yourself with a 10-minute break.

Rewards can be minor, like a snack or some down time to relax, and they can motivate you along the way.

Step three: Change your routine

Change the routine, you change the result.

In fact, sometimes, it’s the routine itself which is causing the negative habit. Are you staying up too late? Lying in bed too long? Do you spend your downtime engaging in a negative habit when you could be exercising, or studying, or spending time with a positive friend?

You are what you do. And in most cases, it’s the lifestyle – or the way you approach it – that may be causing the problem to begin with.

Step four: Get others involved

When it comes to bad habits, having one friend who either supports you or joins you (in stopping) can be enough to keep you moving in the right direction. Find a friend, a fellow student or co-worker who is willing to help you put an end to the habit.

Make a deal so you’re both striving toward a common goal. The two of you can even agree upon a common reward. It makes the process of overcoming the negative habit more fun, inspiring, and honest, and it may make you closer friends along the way.