Forming Positive Habits in Your Personal & Professional Life
Bad habits are hard to break—and good habits can be even harder to form. Every year, I try to develop new positive habits to improve my lifestyle.
Over the years, many of these attempts at building positive habits have fallen by the wayside. Last year, I decided to try something new.
Behavioral psychologists speak to a 3-step pattern to help achieve good habit-forming success:
- Reminder: The trigger that initiates the behavior
- Routine: The behavior itself; the action you take
- Reward: The benefit you gain from doing the behavior
This process was a game-changer for me. For instance, let’s talk flossing. There are so many studies regarding the benefits of flossing, and for years I tried to develop it but failed every time.
Developing the habit of flossing can be a hard one, even with countless studies detailing its benefits—I failed every time at turning this into a habit. That is until I tried to figure out a reminder of something I do daily that I could somehow tie to flossing: showering (yes, I shower every day).
My solution was to buy disposable flossers and to floss while in the shower. It was a simple change to how I approached this habit but yielded successful results. If you currently don’t floss I’d recommend this solution.
Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. But habit formation isn’t all about dental health.
Habit formation is extremely important to productivity at work. When we’ve applied these 3 steps to Perfect Search, we’ve found individual, team, and organizational success.
Writing has been an important goal of mine for some time. At Perfect Search, we have an amazing Senior Manager of Copywriting & Content Strategy, Kayla, who helps me with coming up with topics and editing posts.
Though we developed a good cadence of monthly posts, finishing posts was difficult and required a lot of back and forth. This was primarily because we didn’t have the best routine.
Recently, we changed our process. We set a recurring meeting—a reminder and a routine—to discuss content, minimize back-and-forth over email, and complete posts more quickly.
This small change may seem obvious, but actually following through on this routine has doubled our productivity from 1 to 2 posts per month. The “reward” of efficiency has kept this good habit going.
Gino Wickman’s book Traction details the entrepreneurial operating system (EOS), a set of simple concepts and practical tools to help businesses run. A few years ago, the Perfect Search leadership team read the book and implemented EOS.
Creating clear habits around how meetings are run is instrumental to this system. This structure and set frequency make this meeting style unique.
Our leadership team has a weekly meeting where we discuss business and client headlines and resolve issues and develop “to-do’s” each week. The habit of following this meeting structure—which is full of mini-habits—means that we complete tasks very quickly. We also hold quarterly leadership meetings to discuss and complete high-level priorities.
Company culture is instrumental in success. At Perfect Search, we are constantly working on employee engagement. One element that is important for employee engagement is team bonding.
We developed a weekly company meeting and happy hour and a quarterly offsite event. The weekly happy hour consists of discussing two technology-focused topics we can healthily debate over beer or wine (or both). We also offer the opportunity for anyone to present on a topic they are passionate about.
As for the company offsite, we felt it would be valuable to have the entire team spend a day away from the office where we can engage in team-bonding exercises and offer cross-department educational presentations. This habit of quarterly offsites has resulted in an incredibly engaged team and an organization that resembles the closeness of a family.
Developing good habits has become extremely important to my personal growth and our organization overall. Although many may seem like uphill battles, following the steps of reminder, routine, reward has made them more manageable for us.
Ajay Pattani is a lifelong resident of Chicagoland and is fiercely passionate about his white wine. If he could be a spokesperson for any product, it would have to be white wine. Ajay says if he could be good at one thing, it would be reading minds. If you could read his now, he’d most likely be thinking about white wine.