Habits. Some are beautiful and contribute to a healthy happy life, some are downright ugly, and there’s some that sit on the fence.
It’s those in-between-fence-sitters that can quickly take a slide to the ugly slide: hitting snooze when getting up calls – causing you to be late to work again; another glass of vino after dinner – to find it was the bottle; allowing ourselves to self-depreciate even though ‘we know better’. And yes, self-depreciating is a habit we can address!
My ‘ugly’ habit? Lunch dates with my 5yr old daughter and the screaming match the downward slide a fence sitting habit to the ugly side had become.
I’ve had to stop buying lunches and going to cafes with her – me not packing a lunch or snacks before heading out became a habit that quickly became an expectation (I want sushi. I want a treat. I don’t want to go home for a jam sandwich. I want…). This habit had turned into an anxious filled encounter of gastronomic demands.
I’m reminded about now of the saying we first make our habits, and then our habits make us…I bet the owner of that line never had to contend with a fully loaded sushi bar and five yr old child…
Once I decided this behaviour (hers and mine) was no longer acceptable, I laid the foundation to change; planned the day, packed a lunch, explained the ‘no cafe or sushi today’ (this went down well…).The first few trips out were a battle of wills, as is all change when one party is less than enthused and not fully on board, however, we now have the developing stages of a new habit – well, the resurrection of one I let slide.
Why did I let packing a lunch slide? Because my daughter responded so happily to being a grown up girl and eating in a cafe, and to be honest, I found the carefree nature of leaving the house unprepared slightly liberating. But rather than a cafe being a special occasion event, it became a confrontation and as I had no packed lunch on hand and needed to get back home as intended – I felt little choice but to obliged to her demands…we’ve all been there, yeah?
Here’s the thing…51% of contributor from the National Well and Being Survey stated they have habits or behaviours they no longer consider acceptable to themselves…and these habits will vary for every individual, making a silver bullet solution difficult.
Difficult yes, but easier with a framework – here’s my five steps to address a habit you no longer find acceptable, I call it the Fence Sitter Fixer:
- Identify what makes you squirm: that feeling in your tum? It’s your internal barometer telling you something is amiss. Don’t ignore it, feel it’s presence and the impact on those around you. Listen to what it may be telling you. Look deeply inside to see what the habit is doing to you.
- Craft a positive statement: not ‘I don’t want to fight with my daughter’, rather be creative, ‘I want to create special times with my daughter’.
- Say it out loud to yourself – don’t skimp here, this is important: you’re telling yourself something of significance, and your tum may even lurch again suggesting you’re on track and have the right intention for you at this point in time.
- What resources do you need to support you?: A daily planner? To wake earlier for meal preparation? Discussions on expected positive behaviours when out shopping?(you shouldn’t spring change on someone, and not everyone will be as enthused about your needs especially a five-year-old who wants sushi). Make a list and gather your supplies.
- Effort: Ahh, the hard bit, but only if steps 1-4 have not been firmly conducted by you – can you see the result of your new behaviour, how do you feel once it’s happened, how will you talk about the shopping trip?
Before heading out the door now, with a full and funky little esky bag, my daughter and I discuss the day ahead – not unlike a tool box meeting or staff gathering. She still tries it on me, too ‘can we have sushi, mumma’….’I want to go to a cafe’ and my personal favourite ‘but it’s not fair, everyone else has ice cream for lunch!’.
Ha, nice try.
The Fence Sitter Fixer is just one activity available via the Healthy Happy Staff platform designed to encourage your staff to engage in their health and wellbeing. For other great reading material and downloads, head over and say HI!