Preventing relapse to Old habits !


Cultivating any new skill or a ‘success’ technique is gradual, with stops and starts ; the old ways will re-assert themselves from time to time. This is particularly true at the beginning, when the new habit feels strange and unfamiliar, and the old habit feels very natural. That is how our minds are made. We do not accept ‘Change’ instantaneously ; we resist first, we have doubts in ourselves and others around us – is this the right step for me ? Should I do this ? What will be the repercussions of my action ? What will I need to do extra in order to continue doing this ? And a couple of more questions.

Corporate Training disintegrates this sort of thinking. Mind can be trained if the concerned trainee allows the change to happen. Acceptance of new thoughts is essential to learn, to progress on and to pursue new habits. But, temporary lapses to the old habits are only to be expected and that fact can be used to our advantage in preventing relapses. I get charged up to pursue more on my goal, if I am challenged. That is true in the case of any true performer. The key to using self-doubts constructively is to realize that a temporary step backward does not mean total relapse. Sales training is about developing new habits, sometimes they are only ‘focusing’ on your existing strengths to improvise yourself. Human mind is adaptable, malleable, and flexible enough to accept logical challenges that fall within the periphery of practical understanding.

People undergoing a training program need to be warned that at the outset of training program, they will experience bad days when they will auto-switch to old habits. But, you should tell them, these backward steps will be the important stepping stones to learn the right habits. Otherwise they might interpret the lapse with pessimism – as a total failure that means they are forever flawed and cannot change. So, this means ‘active’ prevention of relapses to old habits of working on their job. Probably, they were less accountable to themselves earlier ? As a corporate trainer, we need to build faith in trainees ; make them think like optimists, help them get clues from their old habits as to why things went wrong earlier. Sales training programs also need to be strengthened to accommodate relevant follow-up steps. These follow-up steps will prevent relapses.

A good motivated star performer will have to adjust to the new surroundings in his new job assignment, if he wants to continue performing as before. Same is the case with a mediocre performer. We are accustomed to think in a particular manner and we expect the surroundings to change so as to meet our thinking pattern. Organizational change cannot be brought about in such a manner. Firstly, as a corporate trainer, I try to understand the existing work place, the work culture and the people working around with the training-aspirant. In Kores India, the changes brought by me within the organization, were in incremental steps during the initial stages of building a ‘successful’ Hewlett Packard Printer consumables business. Then it became a gradual but consistent change ; finally, the change became irreversible though it needed two years for it to happen. Training accelerates the process of change but the effects of change in the trainee are gradual in their occurrence. More so, it depends on the acceptance level of the trainee.

Seeing the consequences of the lapse – a missed market opportunity, lesser profits, or a delayed growth acceleration – will fuel your motivation to pursue change with more vigor. Do not worry about the relapses ; they are only temporary. Call me today to discuss about your or your client’s training requirements.


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