And You Can Too
Habit: An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary
We all have them. Some good, others not so much.
Over the past 2 years I’ve been forced to look at myself in ways years past denied. Maybe its because I’m going through a real divorce, and all thats transpiring from it has given me a different set of glasses. Who knows?
Four habits have been identified during my quiet time. The realization that these habits weren’t the healthiest prompted action.
Here’s the four:
#1 Keeping people around long after their time has expired. Its tough to be alone and not feel lonely. Especially if you’ve been in a long term relationship or marriage. Companionship, intimacy, are wants and needs for anyone. Unfortunately it can lead us to hold on to toxic people and relationships that are not healthy for us. “Something is better than nothing” does not always hold true, and sometimes its best to let go of the little we have, to make space for something bigger.
#2 Alcohol. At certain points in my life, this was like water for me. The most basic thing I could consume without thinking about it. As natural as breathing almost. The more you do something the more you take to it. I was at a point that once I started I couldn’t stop. That had to change.
#3 Taking things personal. Someone makes a comment I didn’t like, took it personal. Did something I didn’t agree with? Took it personal. I’ve learned to view things from another persons perspective and take into consideration what may be going on in their life. A majority of the time I’ve found, offending you was never their intent.
#4 Reacting instead of responding. There’s a quote that goes, “Listen to understand, not to respond.” This is crucial in all facets of life. For years I was quick to snap if I wasn’t hearing or seeing what I thought was right. Mentally I would fast forward the speakers word so I could quickly speak my mind. By reacting before thinking a lot of hurtful things were said and done. What was said and done can never be taken back and I’ve learned the hard way. Since I’ve learned the value in responding, which to me means calming down and thinking things through first, the nature of my relationships have improved.
How To Change Bad Habits
First things first, learn your triggers. Certain people, environments in our lives may set us off in ways that are far from healthy. It becomes routine to the point we become comfortable in our reactions and that doesn’t allow for change or growth. That can be avoided or redirected by learning our triggers.
“Make one small change”, said motivational speaker Jim Rohn. This is your kickstart. So often we believe that change has to be this gigantic step in order to be realized. Not so. One small change in your daily routine, diet, interaction with others, can be a catalyst for a full change to come.
Anticipate, expect, and understand. This has helped me to avoid not only certain people, but conversations that could lead to futile arguments and hurt feelings. If previous experience has shown that certain topics with certain people or situations with certain people usually don’t end well, its best to avoid that conversation or person all together. Having an understanding of who and what you’re dealing with helps break the cycle of always having the same arguments that gets no one anywhere. Understanding also sensitizes you to the way a person may feel about things and lead to a much calmer, softer approach, and a more positive outcome.
Self awareness is another key on the quest in eradicating unhealthy habits, by way of redirecting negative thoughts and behaviors when they show up. This takes a lot of effort and practice, but will prove invaluable in the long run in ridding bad habits and gaining some good habits in return.
So far practicing these methods has yielded some positive results, besides being a tad uncomfortable with the changes.
Being uncomfortable is the only way to grow so surely I’m on the right path.
Thanks for reading!
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Originally published at medium.com