The key to breaking free from bad habits is to find their source. So, identify the bad habit and then isolate its trigger. For many entrepreneurs, bad habits are merely caused by stress.
To break the cycle, replace the bad habit with a positive one that provides a similar benefit. For example, I always turned on the TV the second I came home to relieve stress. This negative habit led to wasted time and procrastination — a feeling I despise. To counter this post-work stress relief, I began replacing my TV time with running.
Because bad habits are a means of dealing with stress, we need to re-program ourselves to properly deal with stress. Eliminating your triggers requires extreme self-control and commitment but will lead to new, healthier behaviors that are personally and professionally more gratifying.
—Jonathan Gilinski, serial entrepreneur, executive director of CapsCanada, and founder of Capsuline; connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn
7. Plan for better ones
At 15 years old, I was huffing and puffing just to get through a one-mile run. It was years before I decided to adopt better eating and exercise habits. I started saying no to social activities that distracted me from exercise. I started saying yes to nutritious foods like lean proteins and vitamin-packed vegetables. Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line of my first half marathon.
This principle of planning better habits applies equally in business. When I work with new startups, I precisely map out the plan for victory. Then comes the hard part: follow through. To stay hyper-focused, I isolate myself from distractions during specific times. I switch my phone to "airplane mode." I only follow up on pressing matters. I focus on my plan. Adopt an unstoppable attitude, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going until you reach your goals!
—Sweta Patel, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing who has advised over 200 early stage startups and high-growth companies; connect with Sweta on Facebook and Instagram8. Take action
If your habit is truly is truly hindering your health, relationships, or success, get off your ass and do something about it! When quitting any habit or issue you deal with, remember: it gets easier every day that goes by. Be patient the first few weeks, and take mental control of the devil on your shoulder telling you the habit is necessary; it's not necessary.
The main thing to remember is this: 100 percent of bad habits are controlled by your mind. You will survive. Get professional help, read up on your habit, and know that you can master your mind to break it. This may take multiple attempts, but don't give up, you can do it!
—Ken Lebovic, president of North Shore Holdings; built a real estate empire acquiring thousands of properties in 20 years with no equity partners9. Prime your proactive mindset
It's super important to get yourself into a proactive mindset instead of a reactive mindset. So often people wake up and start reacting to their day. When you're reacting, it's very easy to slip out of good habits and become less aware of what you're doing, especially if you are trying to build a new, better habit.
For me, I take 15-30 minutes to myself in the morning to focus on my mindset and my goals. As I live on the beach, I like to take a walk, watch the sunrise with some good music on and visualize what I want to achieve that day and in general.
—Jared Goetz, serial entrepreneur and e-commerce expert; founder or cofounder of four multimillion companies in five years10. Community drives achievement
We all know that all progress starts with telling the truth. But when we share the truth publicly with a person or group — who can hold us accountable to do better — that's when we start seeing breakthrough success.
I struggled with an irregular and unhealthy sleep-wake schedule for years until I started an accountability group daily call for 5 a.m. The 5AM Club changed my life by giving me the anchor I needed every morning, and today, we have hundreds of committed people on that call to start their days off right. Change happens in groups.
—Sharran Srivatsaa, angel investor and president of brokerage (western region) at Douglas Elliman; grew Teles Properties 10X in five years11. Pay the price today
Writing for The Oracles has kept me focused on breaking bad habits. I'm a creative guy, so I never used to enjoy looking at financial reports — it felt like getting a root canal. But finally, I forced myself to understand them. Break the bad habit mindset of "as long as I love what I do, the money will follow." Bullcrap. Now I live and die by the numbers, which has made me much more creative.
It's hard doing the right thing all the time, but you can always be more honest with yourself by asking: Will this action take me toward my goal? Do the hard stuff first and get it out of the way. Otherwise, you'll always pay the price eventually.
— Steve Griggs, founder and CEO of Steve Griggs Design; NYC's premier landscape designer transforming backyards and rooftop gardens into private getaways
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