See How These Southeast Asian Entrepreneurs Kicked Their Bad Habits in 2019

With the right mindset they adopted new habits to help them succeed

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 08 Jan 2019

how to kick bad habits in 2019

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

2018 has come and gone, and most take the start of the new year as an opportunity to reassess not only the good that happened the past 365 days, but also the habits that hold them back from achieving their best life possible.

As The New York Times quotes Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” says, “What is magical [about the start of the new year] is our mind’s capacity to create new narratives for ourselves, and to look for events as an opportunity to change the narrative.”

Duhigg adds that New Year’s resolutions can be “very, very powerful,” so long as there is patience, planning, and some science to back it up.

Health psychologist and author of “The Willpower Instinct” Dr. Kelly McGonigal suggests reflecting on the changes that would make you the happiest and then picking a theme for the year. “That way, even if a particular habit doesn’t stick, your overarching intention will,” according to The New York Times.

McGonigal also says in the article that the most effective rewards are intrinsic. So instead of an ice cream sundae after a workout, try focusing on the way you feel after doing the new activity because this will help your brain build positive associations around the activity.

Erik Cheong, co-founder of Singapore last-mile delivery solution Park N Parcel, plans to do minor tweaks in his routine in order to be more punctual and learn how to better manage his time. He recommends setting up a reminder for meetings and appointments an hour prior. This will give him ample time to wrap up tasks or to travel to his meeting place.

Cheong also suggests giving yourself a “time cushion.” He says, “Even if you know how long it takes you to perform different tasks—such as traveling to work or to a meeting across town—give yourself extra time in case of unexpected events.”    

For Southeast Asian start-up entrepreneurs like Cheong the New Year rings in the proverbial push to kiss their bad habits goodbye. After all, it is not always that easy to change what you’ve grown accustomed to. But as Ross Rubin writes in this Inc. article, “Understanding and acknowledging [your bad habits] can take time and effort, but generally the results are worth it.” This is especially true since, as Rubin notes, habits “define who you are.”

For Vikram Bharati, founder of Singapore-based start-up entrepreneur-focused hotel Tribe Theory, being controlling is one habit he would like to see less of in 2019, especially when it comes to dealing with his team members.

“It is important to hire good people and then give them the space to try different things and to empower them to make decisions on their own,” Bharati says.

He notes that in letting the team take ownership of implementing new ideas (even if those turn out to be bad), he is able to foster a culture where people aren’t afraid to try new things.

Alden Adison, co-founder of Kuala Lumpur-based sound media start-up VAV Apps, admits that he, too, has a bad habit of “wanting to fix just about anything and everything that creeps up within the business.” This includes jumping in to help an employee with a problem, for example, even if it may not be the best use of his time and resources to do so.

He recalls one instance when he had to choose between helping an employee draft a powerful salesman recruitment ad over focusing on closing a huge sale from an already willing client.

But this new year, he reminds himself (as well as other start-up founders) to choose their battles wisely. “[B]e willing to sacrifice the problems that matter little over the ones that matter more,” which to Adison meant focusing on the immediate sale.

“And most importantly, choose your suffering well. It will help you sleep better at night,” he adds.


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