Breaking Up (with Bad Habits) is Hard to Do

What Dental Floss, Yoga, and Secure File Sharing all Have in Common

Last night I stumbled across one of my favorite quotes from the late, great standup comic Mitch Hedberg, in which he compares the pain of quitting smoking to the agony of trying to start flossing.

I’ve heard that joke a hundred times, and laughed at every one of them – but this time it got me thinking about my own habits – in my personal life, my health, and at work. It occurs to me that in a lot of ways Mitch was really right – cultivating good habits might actually be more difficult than breaking bad ones. For example, if I tell myself I’m going to quit biting my nails, it’s pretty easy to stop – I put on some extra fume-y nail polish, and the next time I go in for a nibble, I’m reminded of my resolve to break the habit.

On the other hand, cultivating good habits is a lot harder – if I promise myself I’m going to try to do yoga more frequently, for example, I don’t have a constant reminder that I’m not doing the thing I promised myself I would do. Once I do manage to make a habit of getting yoga into my daily routine, I’m instantly reminded of how much I love to sweat, and how much more balanced I feel after each practice. But once I fall out of the routine (which happens a lot), it’s a miserable struggle trying to get back in the habit.

So why is that? I vastly prefer my life when I’m in strong physical and periodontal health… so why would I ever have a hard time making yoga and flossing a priority in my life?

I think this strange phenomenon is pretty pervasive in our work lives too. We know that backing up our files and protecting our communications is really important – and that if we don’t do it, it could really come back to bite us down the road. Logically, I know that if I don’t store my documents online in a secure way, I run the risk of losing some really important stuff – like my time, my hard work, or even my reputation as a steward of the company I work for. But for some reason, every so often, I fall out of the habit of storing my documents online, or taking extra measures to make sure that I’m not sending sensitive information in the clear. And I do this stuff for a living!

But I don’t think my struggles are unique – perhaps cycling in and out of good and bad habits is just part of life. So that leads me to an important topic of discussion for our customers… what can we, as online document storage and secure file sharing service providers, do better to help you establish good habits for storing and sharing your files online? I know that when I forget to schedule my semi-annual dental appointment, my dentist sends me a reminder email. Would this same approach be helpful to you as SmartVault customers? All jokes aside, I’m really interested in learning how we can help you remember to make good document hygiene a priority in your business.  Comment below to let me know what we can do to help you stay on top of your good habits – how can we help you break the cycle of bad habits?