Habits can make us or break us.

My daughter is back in school, and one of the things that I tell her is that she needs to have good habits for studying. If the habits aren’t getting the results she wants, then maybe they need to be changed.

But breaking the old habits is harder than initiating the new ones. At first, both the old and new can battle each other when we try to change habits.

Industries such as healthcare depend on people to form habits that affect the safety and care of patients. Food workers and healthcare personnel are required to wash their hands constantly to avoid the spread of bacteria although we know that a requirement doesn’t help create a habit; it often comes across as negative reinforcement.

So how do we make the switch?

  1. Find a trigger to remind you that there’s something you want to do. The trigger needs to be close in time and space to be useful.
  2. Do it often. The more you do it the more likely it will move to your subconscious faster.
  3. Be consistent. Doing something at the same time or the same place help habits stick.
  4. Be aware of old habits that might interfere with new ones. Create the new habit over the old one.
  5. Commit to do it for a period of time when you won’t give up.

Good habits are valuable because they become automatic and contribute to our efficiency. Your customers and patients will always appreciate great customer service that is a business habit. How many times have you heard someone say, “I really like that (doctor, nurse, clinic) because they always know why I’m there.”

Are your patients saying that about you? They should be.