You may think your bad habits are no big deal, but over time, they could end up destroying your friendships and stunting your own emotional growth. Heres how to liberate yourself, no matter what the issue.
"Force yourself to listen," urges Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser. "You never know what someone will say." Try:
Asking friends if you interrupt too much. If yes:
Focus on the feeling of your closed mouth when you're quiet.
Wait five seconds after someone finishes speaking before you begin.
Later, write down the interruptions you wanted to make. (We guarantee you won't remember half of them.)
"People who do this often have trouble saying 'no' in the first place," explains psychologist James Claiborn, co-author of The Habit Change Workbook. Next time someone asks you for a favor, don't answer "yes" immediately. Instead, say, "Let me get back to you." Then ask yourself:
Do I really want to do this? No? Explore why you want to say yes. Yes? Say "Ill try my best," instead of "I promise."
Am I sure I can do this? Don't pledge time and resources that you don't have.
What will happen if I say "no"? Your friends will not hate you. But they might if you make a promise, then bail out at the last minute.
Tardy types use lateness to avoid boredom and assert power. If you're punctuality-impaired, executive coach Noah Blumenthal, author of You're Addicted to You, advises you to:
Imagine people waiting for you (guilt works).
Always double the time allotted to get ready.
Set your watch ahead 15 minutes.
Be early once a week, just to see how it feels.
Bring your knitting or something else to occupy you.
People who back away from conflict often fear feeling uncomfortable around their opponent afterward, says James Waldroop, Ph.D., co-author of The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back. To strengthen your backbone:
Practice defending yourself (politely) with strangers, from rude waitresses to bad dry cleaners.
Script and rehearse major confrontations. Employ firm-but-friendly language ("I know it wasn't intentional ").
"Putting things off is a coping mechanism" used by people skirting unpleasant situations, says Springfield, Mo.-based clinical psychologist Nancy O'Reilly. Try these tips:
Pencil every project and appointment in your date book, with realistic deadlines. Register for free reminders at onlinereminders.net.
Eliminate clutter and noise from your work space.
Set a timer and race against the clock. Keeping tasks short boosts focus and motivation.