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One of the in-things our environmental manager has been practicing recently has been self-audits. These are periodic walkthroughs in which an observer looks for practices or situations that are not up to snuff and should be addressed.

His discussion got me to thinking about performing my own self-audit.

Got any bad habits? Or perhaps I should ask, do you have any habits that you would like to break? Who is to say what is bad and what isn't. Are they just quirky daily routines, or are they truly habits?

I used to think I just practiced quirky daily routines. I'm sure many of mine are like yours.

A typical day

The alarm clock goes off as usual at 5 a.m. You stretch for a couple of minutes then direct both feet to hit the floor. Stretch and yawn. You make your way to the kitchen, fill the coffeepot with water, grind the beans, or just dump some in from a can, turn the coffeepot on and head for the shower, dry off, and throw on some clothes.

How about breakfast? Do you sit down and enjoy it with your spouse? Do you do the drive-through thing, or do you skip it altogether?

Finally, you put on your jacket, pet the dog on the head, and it's off to the races. You call the dispatcher, check for any voice messages left from the evening before, and depending on what your actual position is, you might head to the office or just start going out to see some of your customers.

Does any of this sound familiar? They are all part of our daily routines. Does that routine include any truly bad habits?

One part of my routine that was more of a bad habit than I realized was smoking. At the urging of my doctor and with the support of my wife, I decided I would try to kick the habit.

My first self-improvement

As far as my habit was concerned, I really didn't practice it too much. Normally it was a reward or satisfier. I would smoke when I had a cold beverage in my hand, or had a particularly nasty day.

Despite some initial troubles, I'm happy to say I kicked the habit. I soon realized how much better I felt after I quit. With this success, I began studying my everyday routines to decide what other habits I needed to break. I focused on waking up earlier so I didn't have to rush so much in the morning, reducing my coffee drinking, and driving more carefully.

After a couple of months of these changes, my sales increased, I found some new customers to call on, and I even found some new places of interest to visit. I still enjoy the smell of the smoke, and I do still savor a good cigar every now and then.

Overall, my boss seems to be happier with the results, my wife doesn't spray the fragrances after I leave the house, and all is well, or at least a little bit better anyway.

jimambrose@aol.com