Want to set yourself free of old habits?
Covid 19 has offered us a chance to not only clean our cupboards but to also assess our old habits and clean out those that are no longer useful to us. Understanding behaviour is necessary in order to make change. The old saying “out with the old and in with the new” is much easier said than done. Before we can make changes to the behaviours that do not serve us well, it’s helpful to understand that there are other ways of perceiving the world and how it operates. Dr. William Glasser has provided us with a new psychology - a new way of perceiving the world that frees us from our old habits.
To be free of our old habits we need to understand the four components of behaviour. Dr Glasser calls this ‘Total Behaviour’, that is:
Thinking – what we are thinking
Acting – what we are doing
Feeling – what emotions we feel
Physiology – what is happening in our body
Our behaviours are learnt, by trial and error, matching, mirroring and imprinting.
We chose our behaviours in an effort to get what we want; all behaviour is self-enhancing.
The exception being when we are shocked by information we have taken in from the world, e.g. what we do immediately after we are involved in an accident.
During the moments that follow shock, we can act with an involuntary, unchosen behaviour but it still involves the four components of thinking, doing, feeling and body sensations = total behaviour.
It’s important to remember that any behaviour is the best we can do at the time, under the circumstances and with the information we have.
When we chose new behaviours, they initially feel difficult and uncomfortable and for this reason we may stop doing them.
All behaviours are connected to our belief system and we use them to protect our image or our identity.
The first thing that we must accept is the only behaviour we can control is our own behaviour.
We can only persuade or influence others, we cannot control them, unless they choose to give us that control. This in turn means that no-one can control us, unless we choose to give them that control.
The brain is the control system, which will guide our thinking, e.g., “I am choosing this behaviour to deal with this situation”.
It is helpful to refer to all behaviours as on-going action verbs i.e. rather than saying, “I am unhappy”, we will say “I am choosing unhappiness”.
Put it back in your mouth when you hear yourself saying, “You make me so mad” stop and think, rephrase by saying “I am choosing to get angry”. The “I” message shows that you have ownership and control of your thoughts.
When you find yourself caught in a situation not of your choosing, see how long it takes you to take a deep breath and decide what you can do about it. Can you change what you are doing? Or, do you need to change your attitudes about the situation?
It is not uncommon for us to resist the idea that we chose our behaviours, because we have been doing them for so long, they seem automatic.
To bring about a change in behaviour we first need to take responsibility for our behaviours; this means we must admit that we choose them.
It is easier to blame others or the world in general rather than take responsibility ourselves.
Accepting responsibility for our behaviour in order to make changes takes patience and time.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, remember you have practiced your old behaviours for a very long time.
Consultant, Mentor, Speaker.