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Habit Forming: Learning to form good habits will change your life

29 September 2022 by Jake Welch
Building Habits

Recruitment is an industry that is busy and complex, often we are reacting to urgent or important issues that present themselves and it is easy to get distracted: you’re writing an email, and then the phone rings; you answer it, and it relates to another role which you recruited for yesterday, and then you rush to find the job description to discuss the role, before you know it you have forgotten the really import but maybe not urgent things you know you must be doing.

Without a strong rhythm to your work, you quickly can become inundated and overwhelmed, sometimes forgetting the important tasks you need to do, this can be detrimental to your success. That’s why at Skillfinder International, emphasis is placed on developing the good habits which assist in managing the pressure and strains of recruiting, whilst building a process that enables us to still work on more strategic initiatives to ensure we are successful. Skillfinder International recognises that one of the key soft skills (or human skills as we like to call them)that shouldn’t be neglected, is that of habit forming.

Humans live habitually, forming good habits is essential to succeed. We get up early in the morning, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, have dinner, and go to bed. That is the pattern that dictates much of our lives, whether rich or poor or young or old. It is, however, the non-essentials that become harder to integrate into our routines.

Behavioural scientists have been insisting for some time that we go about cementing good habits incorrectly. We’re initially too ambitious and restrictive, which, in turn, becomes oppressive. You don’t want to read for twenty minutes a day: you want to read two books a week. This, inevitably, becomes too much of a hurdle to begin developing the habit. And, as a result, you revert to YouTube or Netflix rather than picking up Tolstoy.

Research conducted by Professor Van Der Weiden suggests that those people who are successful in controlling their behaviour do so effortlessly. The question is: how can one form an effortless habit?

Rely on Baby Steps

Research conducted by Ouellette and Wood at the American Psychological Association in 1998, demonstrated that behaviour becomes more habitual when it is frequently and consistently performed in a similar context.

Habits cannot become part of our lives quickly. It is believed it takes anywhere between sixty and one hundred days to form a habit. Yet, once they begin to be practiced more regularly, they become incrementally ingrained. Therefore, begin them! But recognise that they are a slow burner.

Approaches to Habit Forming

·       Always start small – You can’t run a marathon the first time you go jogging. Don’t expect to! Begin by putting on your trainers and running a slow ten minutes.

·       Create a specific time plan – Set aside time for your wanted habit; plan to do it every day or every other day at this or that specific time – consistency is key.

·       Create reminders – Set an alarm on your phone an hour before so that your mind recognises what the time is or what is to come.

·       Reward yourself – After you finish what you wanted to do, don’t restrict yourself.

What will the benefits be?

Once good habits become ingrained, we can begin challenging ourselves to attain more optimistic goals: now that you’ve reading for half an hour per day, why not try forty-five minutes. This quickly becomes achievable and ensures maintainable success. Over time, these habits will create a new person and assist in obtaining long-term goals.

Habit forming is not something that has to restrict us or control our every thought and movement; on the contrary, it is something that should take up a small part of our day. Yet, once projected, and accrued over a longer period, will become major aspects of our daily lives and contribute greatly to success.

This blog is a part of our on-going series " Our guide to the human skills you need to get ahead"