We’ve all got weaknesses. Fortunately, those weaknesses usually are not due to lack of ability; more often, they’re the result of bad habits. When you’re sitting in your office with a daunting presentation to prepare, and you keep checking your inbox and returning calls instead, it isn’t necessarily because you’re bad at prioritizing. It might be that you’re playing out a deeply habitual, practiced response to anxiety, inadequacy, or fear. The key to changing these kinds of habits is to identify the nature of the moments that provoke the ineffective response. Pay attention to the time of day, the location, your mood, and your physiological state. If you can pinpoint the circumstances that cause you to act in ways that lead to bad results, you’ve shrunk the size of your problem. Change seems daunting when you think it requires constant vigilance. But it’s usually about handling a few minutes per day better than you have in the past.
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