By definition, it's not easy to change habits. They can be the source of poor time management, interrupt our creativity and impact our leadership. In fact, people sometimes need a near-death experience or a threatening loved one as the thing that will kick them out of their bad ones and into good ones.

But your habits are also those that define who you are. Understanding and acknowledging them can take time and effort but generally the results are worth it. If you looked closer at some of the decisions you make during the course of the day, you might see areas that didn't expect to come with negative consequences. Here are some harmless-looking or even efficient sounding habits someone can do that could be holding them back:

  • Stop Multitasking. A 2006 research paper suggests that there is an unseen cost to needing to spin too many plates. Attempting to pay attention to two tasks at once will reduce your effectiveness in both. Especially for those complex situations. "It takes extra time to shift mental gears every time you switch tasks--that means when you sit down to work, close your e-mail program so it doesn't distract you," writes the American Psychological Association.
  • Fight Perfectionism. When approaching a problem, your mind may be open to suggestions, but pinning too much on the solution can be your downfall. When you're working on a difficult challenge, you have got to always be ready for the inevitable: failure. As Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird write in their bestseller The Five Elements of Effective Thinking, "commit to the idea that you'll fail at least nine times before getting something right. Whether you're producing a new gadget or artistic work, don't believe that you'll succeed on your very first attempt. By thinking in this way, you'll feel free to simply go ahead and try new ideas without fear."
  • Leave Your Couch. A busy day means at the end of it, Netflix and a slice of pizza sound just like heaven. But that means that you need to take the idea of physical activity seriously to keep your body functioning. Harvard Business Review puts it succinctly: "On days when employees visited the gym, their experience at work changed. They reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues. Just as important: They went home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day."

All of this means that maybe allowing yourself some help could pay dividends. Apps like Fabulous on Android (free with in-app purchases) offer tools that train your brain into being more receptive to breaking bad habits and creating new and better ones. The app works by guiding you through daily routines which have a couple different categories like gaining energy, eating better, managing your weight and getting a good night's sleep.

It's also gorgeous. It takes advantage of Google's Material Design for a colorful, pleasing interface. The app will create alarm reminders to make sure that you're staying true to your goals. It can be a powerful tool in helping to create a better self.

Published on: May 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of