Changing a habit doesn’t have to take long, but it’s hard. Really hard. But when it comes to counterproductive habits like arguing, self-criticism, or blaming others, turning our knee-jerk reactions into something healthier and more productive is essential. As the Harvard Business School points out, the first step is to be aware of your reactions.
You can’t change something if you don’t realize you’re doing it. Think about what kinds of things set you off, then consider the series of warnings signs that precede them. Next, think about where you can recognize and cut off the warning signs, stopping the series from continuing forward. The earlier you can stop yourself, the better — and the more you do it, the easier it will become. Try simply taking a breath to give yourself a a few moments to calm down. Finally, work on replacing the counterproductive habit with something healthier. You can change your bad habits — the trick is to stop them in their tracks.