Repetitive behavior causes us to get good at things. The trouble is, getting good at some things can be bad.
It's Habit Forming
We do many things in our lives over and over. This repetitive behavior causes us to form habits. Some are good and some are bad. We can get good at our bad habits.
· If I play golf with a swing that causes me to slice it into the woods each time (um . . . I know exactly what I’m talking about here), I’ve gotten good at a bad swing.
· If I look at my phone every time it dings, I get good at being distracted from what I am doing in the present moment.
· If I tell myself I’ll get to ‘that’ later, I get good at putting things off.
Our bad habits create even more bad habits.
· Now I moan and groan about how bad a golfer I am. I’m not fun to play with. I ignore my husband’s help because he can’t fix my swing.
· My habit of looking at my phone each time it dings causes me to look at it while I’m driving. That’s unsafe and I get in a car accident. I get distracted when I’m in a conversation with someone because I want to know why my phone just dinged. I get so attached to my phone that I text people while I’m in meetings and during a dinner with a friend.
· I put off buying a birthday card until later. Later comes and now the birthday card is belated. I put off cleaning the kitchen and the house begins to stink or friends stop by unexpectedly. I put off sending an RSVP, it doesn’t get sent, and I feel bad.
I Didn't Know
Most of the time, we just do the same thing over again because it worked last time. I make goulash, my family eats it, so I make it again. I get good at making goulash. But if the goulash is bad (and my family doesn’t tell me) I get good at making bad goulash. Sometimes we’re unaware of our bad habits until someone points them out.
Most often, if we're honest with ourselves, we know about our bad habits. Instead of saying, 'I have the bad habit of not thinking before I speak', tell yourself, 'I'm good at being rude'. Do you want to be good at being rude?
We can also become good at mindsets that are bad for us. If we think negative thoughts throughout the day, it becomes a habit. A bad habit. We get good at negative thinking. This causes us to treat ourselves poorly, it negatively affects our self-esteem, and we have an unhappy life.
Becoming good at ‘seeing how little work I can get away with at work’ won’t help us either. We will have formed a habit of putting in a minimum amount of effort and possibly lying about what we’ve done. Those habits don’t work when we’re trying to improve at something and they certainly don’t work in relationships.
We can get good at:
· Making excuses
· Being afraid
· Eating poorly
· Wasting time
· Being critical
· Avoiding problems
· Being dishonest
Cause and Effect
What are your habits causing you to get good at? Even though it’s not intentional, repetitive behavior causes the habits to form. Are you getting good at things that make your life better or ones that make it worse?
Bad habits create more bad habits. Good habits create more good habits. Which person do you want to be?
This week write down the one thing you spent the most time at each day. Many of us spend the majority of our time at work or school. Now, examine what you’re doing during those hours. What are you getting good at? Is it complaining, wasting time, or taking care of unimportant tasks? Get good at building a positive attitude. Get good at being effective with your time. Get good at taking care of the things that are the most critical to do your job well.
Now write down the one mindset you had the most of each day. What habit are you building? Is your most common mindset worrying or fear? Those are all just bad habits. Replace those thoughts with the truth. Get good at staying in the moment. Get good at facing your fears. Get good at coming up with the positive side of each situation.