What Holds You Back Professionally? Let It Go

Have you “always” had a fear of public speaking, “always” been late, or “always” had other habits that you feel hold you back professionally?

Did you know that many of these issues can often be changed rather quickly if you realize they are not permanent physical features but simply the product of old cognitive habits?

Realizing that you don’t have to continue being a certain way “just because that’s always how it’s been” is a very liberating experience.

Many people are afraid to declare intentions to change because they’re afraid of failing. But refusing to believe in your ability to change practically guarantees you’ll stay stuck in the old habits.

If you really want to change old habits that you feel have been holding you back, follow these steps:

1. Name two to three changes that you’d really like to make at work, and then choose to start with the one that feels the most manageable.

2. Choose a small way to demonstrate a commitment to making that change. For example, you might decide to be on time for a particular weekly meeting from now on or speak up at least once during that weekly meeting.

3. Brainstorm practical steps you can take to help you make the change. You can read a book on the subject, write reminders in your calendar, see a coach, or take a Toastmasters class, for example. Do whatever you need to do to keep your focus and take back your right to be in charge of your own behavior.

The beauty of taking action to improve yourself in the context of professional goals is that oftentimes, the costs associated with your efforts are even tax-deductible. If you’re trying to keep costs low, consider asking a friend to have a weekly accountability call with you so you can get free support in your efforts. With consistency and practice, you’ll be on your way to undoing those old habits and replacing them with ones that serve you better.

What habits do you wish you could change? Tweet me @DrChloe_, and I’ll give you my advice.

Chloe Carmichael, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and stress management expert who has taught cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for anxiety reduction at Fortune 500 companies and her private practice. Her new series of online tools allows her clients to master CBT techniques for anxiety on their own schedule.

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