For example, when Rachel, who came to work for us as an intern two years ago, she did everything right except that the word like appeared far too frequently in everything she said as in “Did you, like, get the copy and did it, like, make sense?” She sounded like a Valley Girl.
Rachel is very bright, so I decided to throw down a challenge. I bought a small coin bank in the shape of a house and taped “Like” Bank on it. I told her that every time she used the word “like” as punctuation, she had to deposit a quarter in the bank. The quarters added up quickly at first, then slowed down and, eventually, stopped coming. Rachel had rid herself of the habit in less than a month! I’m so proud of her.
I had, like, a bigger problem years ago when I was a chain smoker. I tried everything smoking cessation classes to lollipops and hypnotism. Nothing.
Then, one day I was running up the stairs at Grand Central Station and couldn’t catch my breath. I stopped at the landing with an old man looking at me, alarmed, as I coughed and wheezed and actually couldn’t breathe. When I recovered, my pack of cigarette went from my purse to the garbage pail on the landing. That was the last time I ever had a cigarette. Now I know I could bound up that staircase easily but that would be showing off.
Other bad habits I’d like to break include:
- Messy desk syndrome. A beautifully clean desk with not a paper on it would be so cool.
- Fear of cooking lest I kill myself or, worse, kill my guests.
- Fear of water, actually fear of drowning, so I can learn to swim.
- And so many other including fear of driving on the Interstate, fear of strangling rude people … maybe I can beat them one at a time.
- Eating chocolate ice cream whenever possible.
Now, all I need to do is create a system for breaking the habit (like Rachel’s “Like Bank”)
So, let’s say I tackle the messy desk challenge. Every day I clean off the entire surface before I leave the office. Hmmm…that might be too hard to do. Let’s say I start with easier goals: 1) Put all the pens into the holder. 2) File everything that is in one pile on my desk, 3) Write a “To-Do List” before I leave the office each night.
Hmm…this is starting to look like fun. Implementing it, might be slow….but I think I can get rid of some of these habits….and then adopt some new ones from Andrea Nierenberg’s column….and start the New Year, 2013 on the right foot.
I’d like you to join me in this Crusade. It seems like the economy is dragging us about, and having this positive goal-setting routine in motion might help us all. What do you think?
Want to break any bad habits? Let me know in a comment below. Maybe we can tackle them together.