Creatures of Habit

December 6, 2011 – We are all creatures of habit, which is to say, we are all created by, and the products of, our habits. Habits, by and large, are good things. They provide the necessary shortcuts which enable us to perform our daily, routine tasks efficiently. Consider the effort it take to come up with a new plan of action, with a new course of conduct. Consider the efficiency of utilizing the plan in various situations. This, then, is the benefit of habits: They free us from the cycle of reinventing the wheel every time we want to take action.

Questions: Are all habits good? How can we determine when a good habit goes bad?

Answers: No, not all habits are good.

Determining when a good habit goes bad is easy: When the habit continually leads to an undesired result. The most common cause of a habit going bad is a changed circumstance for which the habit is no longer suited. We see this all the time in both our personal lives and our careers. Let’s use as our paradigm a relationship which has changed, which is winding down and ending.

A married couple develops short cuts in the way the two people deal with each other. They learn to act in certain ways and to expect certain responses from each other. In short, they develop habits in their behaviors together. These habits work well in a functional, loving relationship and allow the couple to thrive as they grow together.

But what happens when the relationship begins to unravel? Too often divorcing couples continue relating to each other with the same habits and expectations they had when the relationship was on track. They get stuck in their roles vis a vis one another. The dominant one continues imposing his/her will on the other. The subservient one continues empowering the dominant one by continually acquiescing to the other’s will or looking towards the other one for guidance and for decision making. At some point, for a healthy relationship to develop, the two individuals must learn new ways of dealing and relating to one another, i.e., develop new habits. Indeed, these new habits must emerge for there to be a successful mediation where both parties have equal bargaining power. And even after the divorce is finalized, these new habits must be firmly in place for the two people to develop their own personalities separate from the marital couple. Doing so helps reduce the stress of dealing with the “ex” and helps empower the individual to grow as a newly divorced person. This will also ensure a more even keeled post divorce relationship with the children and between the divorced parents themselves.

The key to creating and maintaining effective habits is keeping a finger on the pulse of life’s changing circumstances. “Everything is in a constant state of flux.” Recognize that change is not only inevitable; it is constant. Test your habits regularly to ensure that they are still current and relevant to your life with an eye towards achieving your desired result. Anything less will only result in a prolonged undesired circumstance. Make change effective. Make change productive. Make the change you want to see in your life. To do so, simply fine tune your habits regularly. Create your habits in order to create the life you desire. And proudly acknowledge yourself as a true creature of habit.

Consider the possibilities.

Adam J. Krim                                                                                          

About Adam J. Krim

Adam works as a Certified Professional Coach, delivering soft skills training seminars on a variety of topics, including Time Management, Harnessing Stress, Decision Making, Problem Solving and more.
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