How to Unlearn the Behaviors That Are Holding You Back

unlearn behaviors
Image by Chris Adamus

Written by Kayla Matthews

Even the most diligent and knowledgeable of professionals is bound to fall for some half-truths, misinformation or downright bad advice throughout the course of their career. While novice and entry-level employees are generally more susceptible to these pitfalls than those who are veterans in their field, nobody is exempt from receiving wrong information.

While misinformation can certainly cause us to pick up any number of bad habits, it is possible to rid yourself of these tendencies and unlearn such behaviors. Not only can this lead to increased success as a leader, but it might even mean the difference between keeping your job and looking elsewhere.

Here are some tips to help you say goodbye to those unfavorable behaviors:

1.Analyze and Identify

The first step in dropping your bad habits is to analyze your daily routines, thoughts and actions in a manner that is as unbiased and neutral as possible.

Not only will this help you identify some of the shortcomings in your attitude, lifestyle and mannerisms, but it will also draw attention to some of your positive and desirable traits.

2. Beginning the Process of Unlearning

Now it’s time to get rid of any previously held misinformation or bad advice. There is a plethora of methods that can be used to accomplish this, but it’s ultimately up to the individual to find the one that works best for them.

Recognizing patterns among your negative behaviors or negative mindset is a great place to start. From here, try to remain mindful of the patterns you’ve already identified. When you feel the inclination to act, take a second to think about what you’re doing and what you’re trying to accomplish. If these thoughts invoke feelings of fear, anxiety, resentment or any kind of discomfort at all, it’s best to step back, re-assess the situation and approach it from a new angle.

3. Get Involved — and Stay Involved

You don’t necessarily have to get along with all of your co-workers and peers, but participating in group-oriented meetings, conferences and events is a great way to unlearn some of the behaviors that may be holding you back as a professional. Don’t hesitate to model your behavior after the attitudes and actions of others and, if necessary, seek out their direct advice.

Setting clear goals, as well as milestones to track your progress, is a good way to maintain an active presence among the immediate workforce. These goals could involve nearly anything. The important part is that you have a source of motivation to maintain involvement with you professional peers.

4. Transform Your Negatives Into Positives

Depending on the exact scope and scale of your bad habits, you might be able to transform these shortcomings into positive attributes. While those who like to talk might come across as nosy or even annoying, their interpersonal and people skills can be focused toward customer-facing roles. Employees who spend too much time on their phones can be placed in positions that call on their skills in mobile and social media communications.

You can draw attention to your personal expertise in these areas without putting your job or reputation on the line. If you’re IT savvy for example, volunteer to redo a company webpage or online profile, develop a new brand identity during your downtime and even spearhead the development of a social media marketing campaign. These are all worthwhile tactics when trying to illustrate your passion for IT.

5. Avoid Similar Pitfalls in the Future

Now that you’ve been able to rid yourself of any routines or actions that may be negatively affecting your career, it’s critical to avoid similar pitfalls in the future. While you’ll have a much better idea of what to look for when trying to identify such behaviors, you’ll still need to remain diligent when attempting to modify patterns and break bad habits.

Image by Chris Adamus

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