What can I do to get rid of that one rude, especially annoying, bad habit once and for all?
I don’t keep it very well. I have a very bad habit of being late. I wasn’t born with this bad habit; I came three weeks early. I didn’t inherit this bad habit; my mother is famous for arriving way ahead of schedule. Nope. This bad habit of being late is a conscious choice I have made and perfected over the years.
In the whole scheme of life, what does it really matter if I am a minute or two (or five or ten) minutes late if I was able to accomplish just one more task off my list before getting out the door?
And who wants to sit around twiddling my thumbs because I got to my destination too early? I would much rather show up on the dot for an event than wait around for it to start.
Unfortunately, because I do that one more thing, showing up on the dot is a mark I often miss. And so, I end up being late – again. (and again and again).
I really don’t like being known as “that person” – the one who keeps others waiting, showing up out of breath, and constantly making excuses. That is rude and I am not a rude person. Or am I? My always on time husband has reminded me countless times that late is late, even it is just a minute or two. Me being late is not just me being late. I’m causing stress and being inconsiderate of others and their time. And that is just plain rude.
Now, I refuse to believe that I don’t have enough drive, desire, or ability to let go of this bad habit. If I was to give in to this bad habit, that would mean I can’t control my own choices and that I’m not as strong as I think I am. That would be a horrible admission.
Decide once and for all, that this bad habit has to go. Quit making excuses like, “Well, I’ve done it for so long,” or “It’s just who I am” or “I’m too old to change.” Obviously, causing stress and inconvenience for others wasn’t a big enough motivator for me to change either. I need to break this bad habit because being on time is important to me.
Figure out the blind spots and set rules for yourself. One of my problems with being late is my getaway. I know how long it takes me to get somewhere, but I don’t take in to consideration what it takes to get out the door. Things like doing that one last thing, finding my keys, packing my purse, or putting on my shoes. These tasks all add up. I need to be better at planning ahead and calculating that one more thing into my leaving equation.
Plan for substitutions. If I am changing my routine to be on time, I’ve got some extra time that I have to deal with. To avoid that gnawing feeling that I am wasting time, I can plan ahead. Bring a book and do some reading or save my emails to answer during the being on-time extra time.
Don’t give up. Breaking bad habits takes time and effort, but mostly it takes perseverance. I heard once that it takes one month of doing something consistently in order for it to become a new habit. I can’t let a probable setback get in my way and call it quits. Most people who end up breaking their bad habits try and fail multiple times before they make it work.
What strategies have helped you break a bad habit?