Working with Emotional Intelligence at Align4Profit has brought us success in helping leaders break habits. We begin by working with the three fundamental elements of habit—Cue, Action, and Pay-off (CAP).
Habitual behavior is set off by a stimulus or Cue, which triggers an unthinking response or Action, for which you receive a reward or Pay-off. Every time anyone completes such a cycle, the bad habit is reinforced by making the response more automatic and immediate.
To break the bad-habit cycle, we add a fourth element—Halt (H). We have found that the simple act of pausing gives you just enough time to get a hold of yourself, reset your rational powers, and move in the direction of change.
That gives us the acronym CHAP, which now stands for Cue, Halt, Action, and Pay-off. To CHAP a bad habit, you must take the following four steps:
To begin to make CHAP work, keep in mind that Cues do not cause emotional disturbances. Rather, the way you feel about an event, yourself, others, and the world actually triggers your reactions.
When someone challenges your beliefs or rejects one of your ideas, they activate the emotional centers in your brain, which react automatically and immediately with negative self-talk, such as:
The foundation of your efforts to break bad habits must be built on rational beliefs. This is the key to self-regulation. You will not succeed until you reframe your thinking with healthy, positive thoughts such as:
If you really want to break bad leadership habits, I strongly recommend our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Program. There you will learn and practice the leadership skills you need to address alongside leaders like you from other organizations with many of the same challenges.