Identifying & Fixing Habits

Identifying flaws is not easy. Even harder, though, is accepting these flaws and knowing that they can be changed or transformed into something beneficial. We are stubborn people, some more than others, which just makes changing these bad habits even harder. While some people choose to only focus on their strengths and further strengthen them, they choose to ignore the bad habits that they possess. This can work for some people, but depending on the skill set an individual holds, sometimes fixing personality defects will bring on more benefits. 

Time to get uncomfortable. There are really only two ways to identify what is wrong with you. (That sounds awful, doesn't it?)

1) Self-identify. Focus on what you felt you did wrong during the day.

  • Pros: Easier to find inner struggles, because you are the only one that can peer inside your mind. Easier to cope with. 

  • Cons: You won’t be able to see habits of yours that others see are bad. (You might not even think that they are bad.)

2) Have others create a list for you.

  • Pros: Longer list with more specific and extroverted habits.

  • Cons: You might take their advice personally. Don’t.

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
— Vince Lombardi

To perhaps make this easier for you, I’ll publicly start my list. First I’ll list 5 bad habits I know I have, and then I will ask three of my friends identify a bad habit that they have noticed..

  1. I always think I’m right. I’m not (obviously). Truthfully I know that I’m not always right, but in the heat of the moment or in an argument, I don’t want to change my opinion and I’m close-minded and stand firm. To fix this: I will avoid arguments and always keep an open mind. I will keep my opinion to myself unless asked for or unless I know it is beneficial.

  2. I’m lazy. So so so lazy. I only feel motivated to do something if I am interested in it. Sometimes I’m so lazy that I’ll even put off something that I love like designing or writing, simply because I know it will take effort. To fix this: Set definite goals, and make someone hold me accountable for them. Realize how everything I accomplish matures me and improves me in some way.

  3. I’m crabby. And if you tell me I’m being crabby, I’ll just get crabbier. All of my friends have experienced dealing with me in one of my moods, and honestly, I feel bad for them. To fix this: More caffeine. (Just kidding.) Don’t take anything personally, and greet everyone with a smile and positive outlook.

  4. I get into ruts. Once something affects me, it eats at my mind. I need to learn to move on, drop the subject, and continue living my life. To fix this: Remind myself everything is temporary. 

  5. I have a horrible attention span. I've been checking my phone and social media every 2 minutes while writing this post. To fix this: Set boundaries. The sooner I get things done, the sooner I can mess around.

Here is a short list I had my friend create for me:

  1. I know that I am crabby sometimes but I don't try to cheer up or do anything about it, even if I know it is affecting others.
  2. I do not take things seriously enough and I struggle to concentrate on important things.
  3. "You stare at the clock for almost a minute. You feel like you could list a hundred things you would rather do than your homework. You decide to go the route of short-term gratification, and you begin to listen to music and relax instead of getting work done. In the moment, it feels like it pays off, but there is a constant nagging voice in the back of your mind that criticizes you for not being more proactive. You decide to shift the responsibility to your future self. After all, you don’t need to worry about the future until it becomes the present." (Direct words from my brother, Micah.)

As I anticipated, my friends' observations tie into mine. When your habits begin to affect others, that's when you should really start to make an effort to change them.

Take some time to think about your day. Think of every argument you got into, every time something made you angry, every time you blamed someone else, etc. What you’ll probably realize is that you did not react properly. Of course, in the moment, you did what was your first instinct, and at the time it seemed like the right thing to do. You reacted this way because it’s habitual to react that way. See how this all ties together? When you fix your habits, you fix how you handle all situations. Especially if you deal with something like a bad temper. At the end of every day, I put forth an extra effort to look at arguments I've had. Nearly 100% of the time after reflection, I see that my reaction was definitely not the best way to handle the situation. When we react instinctively, we cannot go back in time and change our decisions after we've had time to think about how to react and handle the situation. 

Changing habits is hard. Everyone knows that, and that’s why they are so often left untouched. It is going to take an insane amount  of conscience-thinking and effort to change a bad habit of yours, and it will be mentally draining. Let the thought of your future life without the habit motivate you.

Eliminate bad habits.
Introduce good habits.
Live a simpler life. 
Be happy. 

- Jonah