“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Habits are our greatest asset and can become our worst curse.

We know in order to maintain our personal and professional lives, we need to develop and establish effective, solid and sensible habits, as well as, keeping them fun, fresh and motivating.

This article from Psychology Today, highlights the topic of habit formation, hot in the news these days, especially with the success of Charles Duhigg’s best-selling new book The Power of Habit . Even New York Times columnist David Brooks is singing the praises of habit formation as the answer to everything from weight loss to addiction.

The premise is this: Why struggle to do something when you can simply make it automatic?

So, when we look at differing cycles in our lives, we see that the signs to change were there all along, but we chose to ignore them. Most people are not good at being proactive, instead we wait until  it’s almost too late and then we’re forced to make a move.

Change is the most natural thing that we actually do. There is an organic change process we all live through in our life, career and personal cycles. Aging, divorce, moving, accidents, health, natural disasters all impact our need to change.

Here are 6 signs it’s time for change. Any of these strike a chord?

It’s not always about dramatic change, in fact more often it’s about small things that can make a big difference in what’s right in front of you.

1) Complacency

There’s a feeling of contentment, or self-satisfaction,that follows accomplishment that can lead to a letting up or backing off of the urgency and actions that are key to habit maintenance. Continue to keep habits steady and consistent.

2) Boredom

Continuing habits in exactly the same way can lead to boredom. Change up a routine, take a different approach, try new things that lead to staying fresh, recharged and enthusiastic. Try a different time of day, new route to someplace, a new look or hairstyle, or new restaurant.

3) Lack of energy

Do you feel that your energy level or endurance is lower while doing your job, tasks, or work? This could certainly be a medical issue, which you want to have checked out. When we are not happy or fulfilled it saps our energy. Are you eating properly, getting your exercise, sleeping and drinking lots of water? Here’s a great article on Sleep Cycles and Rebooting Your Brain.

4) Procrastination

The dreaded, I have to do it attitude will sabotage you every time. Putting things off that are not our favorite things to do is human, but this can put us seriously behind our deadlines and goals. Take this free 20 question test on procrastination, know where you stand, then learn how to eliminate your procrastination hot spots.

5) Distracted

There are more things today that challenge our attention than ever before. Tweets, texts, posts, emails, videos, advertisements, mobile phones all challenge our focus. We are being easily distracted by bright and shiny objects 24/7, and studies are proving undisciplined and addictions with social media.

Check out this comprehensive, Study on Distraction, by Larry Rosen PHD, which reveals:

students were only able to focus and stay on task for an average of three minutes at a time and nearly all of their distractions came from technology.

6) Negativity

90% of high performers possess  high EQ!  Glass half empty or half full? Optimism and hope or gloom and doom? “We become what we think about all day long.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) .  Here are 5 Keys To Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence.

I’m a fan of Leo Babauta, Zenhabits.net. He makes it easier to embrace changing habits,  consciousness and taking action, especially The Essential Zen Habits of 2011.

Are you seeing these signs that it’s time for change?

Our personal brand and professional advancement depends on proactivity in creating and changing habits, embracing change and developing high EQ.


Deborah Shane is career author, branding/media strategist, nationally published writer and speaker. She hosts her Toolbox Blog and a popular weekly business radio show that has over 42K downloads! She is a regular contributor to several national blogs and websites, including Smallbiztrends.com, MonsterWorking.com, Blogher.com, Personalbrandingblog.com. Her book Career Transition-make the shift is available on Amazon.com and all major book sellers. Deborah delivers smart, no-nonsense ideas and solutions, which make her a popular go-to resource for national media including CNN, CBS, Fox. Engage with her @DeborahShane, and visit her at www.deborahshane.com.