Good Habits – Bad Habits. Are you sure?
Good Habits: Work hard, Play hard. Lead by example.
Bad Habits: Alcohol is bad for you. Banish procrastination.
We all have beliefs about what are good habits and what are bad habits. My grandfather said that eating an egg or two a day was good for you. Today people are concerned about the cholesterol in eggs. They used to have prohibition in the United States because alcohol was surely an evil thing. Now you’re supposed to drink a glass of red wine per day for your health.
In the end, what was once a good habit may now be a bad habit: spanking children for example.
So, may I suggest that we are raised to believe certain behaviors are good or bad. So we believe. Yet we keep doing what we are doing. May be there is some benefit to what we are doing, our “bad habits” actually serve a purpose. If you could imagine that your bad habits are in some way perfect for you – what purpose do they serve? Finding the good in a bad habit might just be the trick.
Story: Good Luck – Bad Luck. Who’s to know?
Here is a brief portion of a story I’ve heard many times and told in many different ways. You may have heard it too.
In the olden days, a farmer was plowing his field. One day his son, who had been gone for a long time, returned home. The father was glad to see him and invited all the neighbors to celebrate the homecoming. The neighbors said, “Now that you are getting older, it’s sure good luck that your son has returned home and can help out with the farm.” The old farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to know.” The neighbors just shook their heads.
It wasn’t long that the son broke his leg. Again the neighbors commented, “That is surely bad luck.” The old farmer just replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to know.”
Next, they heard that a recruiter for the king was coming to take away all able-bodied young men for the king’s army, since the king was getting ready to fight a war. The farmer’s son was left behind because of the broken leg. The neighbors again commented, “What good luck that was.” The old farmer just replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to know.”
Call to Action and Why This Matters:
Have you ever made a list of all your good habits and another list of all your bad habits? Try it. Which list is longer?
Are there any pairs like the following?
Good Habit: work hard —- Bad Habit: procrastinate
Good Habit: Act as if you have your life all together —- Bad Habit: Get drunk on a Friday night
The source of the bad habit might be the good habit. If you work hard and don’t allow yourself to relax and enjoy, then just maybe, the only way for you to relax is to procrastinate. When you ease up on the good habit and find a better balance in your life, the procrastination may disappear as well. If you look like you have it all together, there is a point when you can’t keep up the façade. Getting drunk allows you to forget it all for a little while.
So, if trying to change a bad habit hasn’t worked for you, try changing a good habit. Find a better balance and see how it affects your bad habit.
Taking it Farther:
1. Identify a habit you would like to change
2. Determine what you want to change it to
3. Decide if you can commit to doing this for 90 days
4. If you can’t commit to 90 days, pick something you can succeed at. Start small and be successful.
5. After 30 days, evaluate. If you are satisfied, then recommit. Otherwise make adjustments.
I recommend focusing on one habit at a time. Give it three months to live into your new habit in a way that works for you. It may not seem like a lot, but at four habits per year, you will have twenty improved habits in five years. I guarantee it; your life will be different!
If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you. Call to schedule coaching and start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.