I have always said that we are not our behaviour. Kids are not their behaviour and that behind the undesired behaviours is something else, some emotion that needs to be acknowledged or dealt with.
But sometimes....just sometimes....you come across someone (whether it is an adult or a kid) whose behaviour and choices just rub you the wrong way and it takes everything in you to remember that you are an adult and you are in control of how you respond! When you feel like your buttons are being pressed, the things really get you hot under the collar, it takes a lot of energy to not just completely lose your patience or your temper!
It is easy to give in to the heated emotions and lose your patience or temper if you allowed it to happen...and some people do.
I have said to my class a few times this year, that no one actually likes to be judged. No-one at all. But unfortunately, we live in a world where that will happen and when people do not know you personally, they can only make assumptions based on what they see - especially when it comes to behaviour and the things you do.
Habits define us
A habit is an action we do frequently and automatically in response to our environment. Who we are and our character is a made up of our habits. Habits are typically consistent and often they are unconscious and they are usually things that we do constantly each day that become a part of who we are, thus, defining who we are.
Who do you want to be or become?
Over time, I have learned that we are in total control of who we are and who we want to be and become. No outside factors can create who we want to become. We have to choose it. We become who we want to be simply by the practice of just actions. We become self-controlled but practising self-control and we become courageous by performing courageous acts. It actually doesn't matter how we were raised. We get to choose the person we want to become. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
Ultimately, people change for a couple of reasons. Either, they have learnt enough and they now want to or they are in enough pain that they need to. We only decide to change habits based on a pull towards a reward or a push away from the pain we are in. Here is an example of what I mean. If we are talking about your health, the decision to change habits is because you are attending an event or there is something that you really want as a reward (It has to be a strong pull) and so you decide to change habits. Or, you are at a stage where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired or your doctor has given you some news about your health or you have had a painful experience happen as a result of your health, that is where you push away from the pain and make some changes. If the 'why' or the reason is not strong enough or you are not yet in enough pain, change won't happen. People have to have a rock-solid reason for deciding to change who they are and become who they want to be.
Begin with the end in mind
Like in learning at school, changing habits in life uses the same format. We must begin with the end in mind. We must decide who we want to become and then backwards map it. It is not possible to take the action towards who you want to become if you don't know where you are heading. It is important to have clarity around the person you want to be or become in order to change your habits and actions in order to become that person.
Don't be afraid of growing
The best part of life is that every morning you have a new opportunity to become a better version of yourself. Sometimes it is challenging to change and grow because it will ultimately come with comments from other people - and not always positive ones! You only have your life. People will spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do in life or what they want out of life but their habits do not align with what they want. Don't be afraid of growing. Only be afraid of standing still. Standing still will lead to regret. To change habits, we must make a conscious decision and then act out the new behaviour. We become who we think we are. We act in a way that is consistent with our self-image.
Consistency is key
Don't get me wrong...there will be hard days, messy days and downright 'what was I even thinking!' days! But changing habits requires consistency. We don't practice our new habits when 'we become' someone better. We practice new habits in order to become that person. We all have habits we want to change or eliminate and my whole life I was taught that we should break our bad habits. Anyone else ever found bad habits hard to break? How many times have you tried to break a bad habit and been unsuccessful? For me....A LOT! But the truth is, you don't break a bad habit. You replace it with the consistency of creating and practising a new one. To be consistent in your actions and persistent in your efforts will lead to success and help you to become the person you want to become.
As Aristotle is quoted: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.
Until next week, have a mindful week and stay consistent.
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