We’ve talked about “First things first, second things second,” which pays attention to building a foundation to take the next step.

“Just do it” to stop the unhelpful habits may work for some people, some of the time, personally, I’ve cruised right past all those easy habits to correct. Now, I’m down to the sticky, clingy even hidden ones that don’t want to be released from service.

So how do I release them?

5 steps that got me going.

1. Identify the unhelpful habits. Look them in the face. Write them out. Call them out for a full-on confrontation. Keep them front and center until you are satisfied with the change.

2. List whatyou gain and lose. List what you gain from keeping these bad habits in service and what you lose. I have “great ideas” all the time. At least I think they are. Going into a meeting what do I gain from pitching my ideas? I might get everything from enthusiastic conversation to “yes, that’s nice.” I often get ho-hum responses, so my bad habit is to turn on the heat and thpost every great argument out there. What do I gain? Not much. I lose a lot. Less credibility, less willingness to converse.

3. Find a substitute.For example, what can substitute for a sales pitch and a round of heated well thought out arguments that no cares about? How about “What do you think?” or “How do you think it should be approached?”

I use the substitutes often. Even when I pitch a new concept I am ready for the bad habit to sneak in and I pull out my substitute as quickly as possible.

4. Identify the triggers. Find those triggers that turn on your unhelpful habit. Label them. Get them out in the open.

One of my triggers is the argument, the challenge. I am prepared and love a good fight. Go Irish! I watch for the triggers now and slow myself down when the triggers happen. Sometimes they do slip through. It’s a work in progress.

Watch for the triggers to happen. As you see them occur, confront the triggers, asking yourself if you really want those triggers to dominate you. Hopefully, your answer is a “No!”

5. Set aside intentional time each day. Take time and make an intentional decision to chose the habit you want and do it. It might seem hard at first then before you know it you’re choosing a better habit automatically.

Remember why you are doing this.

What unhelpful habits do you want to change that hold you back?

Remember be patient with yourself and give yourself grace as you tackle these issues.It is a skill and takes time to get good at it, so start now.

Post your successes or struggles about what works and doesn’t work for you. Use the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”