The easy way to do something right is to make it a habit, since good habits make hard jobs simple. Yes, good habits may take time to develop, but they’ll work for you forever.
Do you remember brushing your teeth and washing your face when you got up this morning? Probably not. You know you did it, but it’s so much a matter of habit that you didn’t even notice: You did it automatically, without thinking.
Good habits work for us even when we’re not at our best. Unlike conscious actions, they don’t depend on how we feel or how busy we are. And habits are always more reliable than memory.
The mechanic who has made a habit of checking his or her tools for burrs, cracked handles, and so forth will make sure that they are in good shape before using them. This mechanic will not only do better work, but will also work more safely.
Once a habit has been firmly established, you cannot forget it or ignore it, even if you want to. It becomes almost second nature.
Now, how do we go about forming good habits? The same way we form bad ones—by repeating the same action in the same situation over and over again, without fail.
If a secretary always writes the message down immediately, this immediacy will become automatic. If an office manager never pays bills or checks statements without double-checking the figures for accuracy, double-checking will soon become second nature.
Every time you repeat an act, you reinforce and strengthen the habit. The important thing to remember is to make no exceptions. Exceptions weaken the habit. That’s why safety rules should be followed at all times; they should be followed without any exceptions. Unbroken safety rules become firmly fixed and habitual. With constant repetition, they become a part of you.
Let your good habits work for you. Make safety a force of habit.