The making and breaking of habits have been studied backwards, forwards and sideways. Behavioral expert Gretchen Rubin in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives adds a somewhat new perspective. She claims that:
- There is no definitive time during which new habits become solidified. Some are almost instantaneous; others can take far longer than the 66 days period that was generally accepted. So when you are looking for the transfer of training from the classroom to the job, you need to be patient and diligent in seeing that the behavior is encouraged, coached and rewarded until it is embedded…no matter how long it takes. You also need to treat the transfer of training differently dependent upon the skill and situation.
- There is no specific list of habits that spell success. While some authors would have you believe differently, the better you know yourself and the habits that work for you, the better able you are to channel the habits that lead you to success. If it was as easy as just following “best practices,” we would all be superstars.
- Breaks are OK. Sometimes when we are working too hard to correct a fault, we need a distraction. Take a break, refresh yourself and then return to the task with renewed energy. Everyone has a different pace. Identify and respect what works for each person as long as they are making improvements.
- Slip-ups are to be expected and can be overcome. If you backslide on a commitment, try to figure out the triggers that led you astray, make a plan for recovery and get back on track. Plan for this to happen and be ready to address it when it occurs.