How to Stop Making the Same Mistakes Over and Over Again

One way to combat falling into terrible habits is to focus on thinking outside of the box.

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By Kate Yanko

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Old habits die hard. This can be an excruciatingly painful lesson to learn, especially when it comes to making mistakes in business. While mishaps aren't always a bad thing (the process of well-planned trial and error can teach lessons that textbooks cannot), often entrepreneurs get in a rut where they repeat the same mistakes over and over again. This slippery slope of developing these negative habits can have devastating consequences on a business' success -- if not caught before they become ingrained in established processes.

One way to effectively combat falling into these habits is to constantly stay in the mode of creativity. A creative mindset is one that evaluates problems, adapts to circumstances and implements lasting, valuable solutions.

Need a little thinking outside the box? Try these techniques.

Related: The Daily Schedules of Creative Geniuses (Interactive Graphic)

Switch it up. To catch these negative habits, sometimes you have to interrupt habits altogether. Switch up your morning routine by traveling a different route to work or stopping at a different coffee shop along the way. One simple change in routine can create a domino effect and inspire you to do other things differently.

Visualize the process. Begin a brainstorming session by getting out a piece of paper, clearing the dry-erase board or grabbing a napkin and drawing the number-one area of opportunity the business would benefit from focusing on. What does it look like? Don't be afraid of being silly or thinking of ideas that are completely out there, in the end, these very concepts could very well hold the answers you're seeking.

Pretend you're in a different position. To see things from a different angle, sometimes you have to literally move where you're sitting. So, even though you know what your employees' duties are, do you know what the day looks like through their eyes? Ask to shadow them for an hour one day and you may see the world differently.

Related: 10 Must-See Videos on Business, Creativity and Success

Observe without judgment. That one idea that you're heavily resistant to could have some valid concepts layered within it. Often, judgments are immediate responses and can cut observation off at its source. Simple observation is the root of inspiration and inspiration fuels creativity

Get weird. Do something unconventional. Don't be afraid to have fun. Sometimes, creativity can be stifled when office environments seem too "stuffy". Have an employee talent show. Host an ice cream social. Have one day where all of the staff can dress up like their favorite character from The Walking Dead. Seriously. These types of activities help people loosen up, which could lead to creative solutions.

Related: How to Solve Big Problems: Start Small

Kate Yanko

Entrepreneur and Sales Strategist, Columbus, OH

Kate Yanko is a writer and entrepreneur from Columbus, Ohio, and a graduate of The Ohio State University. She has startup experience in manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and operations. She loves speaking and working with business owners and discussing the nature of the entrepreneurial spirit.

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