Changing your behavior

I am a true believer in the fact that the more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to change our behavior. We have the ability to learn and grow through knowledge. When we acknowledge our bad behavior and our bad habits we are able to alter that behavior and change those bad habits.

So how do we change our behavior? Start by recognizing which behaviors you would like to change. Are you impatient? Do you have a short temper? Are you vain or selfish? Now ask yourself how would you like to be? Do you want to learn to be more empathetic or become more focused?

Stop and ask yourself why you want to change that behavior or break that bad habit. Really connect to your inner self. For example, "I want to quit smoking so I can see my grandson play football." "I want to quit cursing so I do not embarrass my husband at work functions." "I want to be more patient so my clients do not feel like I am rushing them." Then take the time to discover what your triggers are. What causes you to feel angry? How do you feel when you start to become impatient? Do you start to feel anxious or antsy? Be aware of how you react to others? Does your tone of voice change, or do you become short with others? Make a list and put it somewhere you can see it. Having this list will help you to adjust your behavior and start to make changes.

Ex: People shaking their legs and moving the table makes me feel irritated and I become impatient with them. - Try to politely ask them to stop.

Waiting on my co-worker to finish her report, again. This triggers my angry and my impatience. I become irritated and angry. - Try asking her if she needs assistance. Can you help her. Maybe she is overwhelmed; even though this is an everyday occurance. Unless she quits or gets fired you can't change this, so pitch in and help.

Most of the time we cannot control the outside environment surrounding our work lives, even our home lives at times. The only thing we can do is control the way we react to the situations that push us to our limits.

Focus on understanding the behavior you want to change; what is the definition of impatience, empathy, angry, etc...? How can you become more patient or empathetic? Learn to take a deep breathe when you start to feel like something is taking too long or try singing a song in your head. Practice being a better listener by focusing on what others are saying and try repeating back what you heard. Ex: "So what I am hearing you say is that the manager has you doing his reports and your reports this week?" Once you know what is happening you will be able to empathize and understand their situation. If you are feeling impatient, offer to help. Helping someone could improve the situation and relieve some of the tension. Try to understand where others are coming from; what is that person's background. Really look and dig deeper to gain a better sense of the situation that is triggering you.

If you want to break a bad habit analyze the habit and make a plan. For example: If you want to quit smoking you will need to really dig deep and utilize self control. Understand that being around others who smoke can be a big trigger. What are your triggers? If you always have coffee and a cigarette; try to replace that with coffee and a banana. Smoke breaks at work, go for a walk around the building and bring carrots, celery stick, or gum. This helps replace the action but it will not replace the craving. You will need willpower to overcome the urge until it goes away. Change your routine. Avoid situations where you would be around smoke; the smell can spark the craving. Speak to your friends and family and let them know what you are trying to accomplish. Do not go outside with them when they want to partake. Put up signs, pictures or quotes to remind you of why you are quitting. Try to find an accountability partner, someone you trust that you can reach out to when you are feeling weak. Call them and talk through it. Talk about why you are quitting. What will you gain or benefit from breaking your bad habit? What is your desired outcome? Most of all stay strong.

Take a few minutes each day to speak out loud a positive affirmation; encourage yourself each morning to have a good positive attitude. Write in your prayer journals. Pray for strength, courage and guidance.



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