Let's face it. Becoming a better version of yourself takes effort! That's probably why a lot of people don't bother. I know I can relate to how hard it is. For example, I grew up in a family who hates to exercise. And I mean HATES it. On top of that, we didn't exactly pay attention to eating high quality, raw, nutritious food. Not that we ate junk - that's not what I mean. But we ate 'normal food,' which now (decades later) is known to be not the healthiest thing you should eat (think processed food).
The reason I'm bringing this up is because I KNOW how difficult it is to change your habits. I try to eat healthy. I try to exercise (I'm sure my family just read that and had a heart attack!). Well, I go through my phases where I exercise moderately ... very moderately. But it's a struggle. I can always find some reason (*ahem* ... okay ... EXCUSE) to slack off on working out.
We all have our 'bad habits.' Yours might be smoking, drinking, procrastinating, or eating too much pizza. We all have our vices. But change starts with awareness. You can't change what you don't recognize. So take a look at this list. Do you see yourself in any of these habits?
Here we go ...
We live in a word of complainers. Really - we do! It's almost like the school system had classes in it. Okay, okay, obviously that's not true. But what is true is that we live in an incredibly negative world. I teach classes about the media, and a well-known motto in the news industry is "If it bleeds, it leads!" In other words, the more sensational (and negative) the better! Think about the "Jerry Springer Show." Why would that show have survived decades on the air unless people liked watching all that negativity?
2. Living "Unconsiously"
There are a lot of people who don't live consciously. What I mean by that, is they kind of go through life with blinders on. They don't ever look in the metaphorical mirror at themselves and see their behavior for what it really is. For example, I saw this show once called "I Consume 30,000 Calories a Day" (or something to that effect). The people on the show literally did not know they were eating that much. It's hard for the average person to fathom that they weren't conscious of it, but they weren't. They were sleepwalking through their eating habits until someone had to wake them up and point it out. It may not be your eating habits, but there may be some other behavior(s) that you are not noticing or acknowledging.
3. Not being "Present"
Texting. Phone calls. TV. Internet. Distractions. I could go on and on about what takes our attention away from being mentally and emotionally "present" with other people. I have heard parents say that their teenagers and their friends sit around in a room together but they're all texting other people on their phones. Really? Why bother even being in each other's physical presence. They might as well just go home and text each other from there. The best thing you can do for another person is to show them you care by being "present." And that doesn't include texting other people when you're with someone else.
4. Being Selfish
I know that human beings were programmed to be selfish - it's a survival mechanism. If cavemen weren't the first to snatch up the last of the food, then they might starve to death. But this behavior has manifested into bad social behaviosr. No one likes a selfish person! I teach my students that it's best to have a balance between "Self" and "Other." You shouldn't completely ignore your own needs and wants, but you shouldn't ignore other people's either. Having a nice balance seems to work out well if you can find a way to achieve it. However - one note. BOTH people have to have a balance. One person giving and the other one taking (all the time), does not make for happy relationships!
5. Being Late
I know a lot of people who are chronically late. And while some people may think they're doing it to have a power trip, I tend to think that a lot of people who are late just either (1) have a really bad sense of time, (2) aren't aware of how their lateness negatively impacts other people. I can't tell you how many times I have waited over an hour in restaurants for friends to show up thinking, "Well, this is a waste of my time. I could have been doing something productive for the last hour instead of waiting for this person!"
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list by far. It's just a start.
Remember that no one is perfect. But the difference between someone who is trying to be better - and someone who is not - is making an effort to change. And as I said earlier, change starts with awareness! So I promise you that I will keep working on my eating and exercise habits ... if you promise me that you will work on whatever habits you need to change. Deal? :)
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