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Habits – they can work for you or against you. They can either be an asset or a deterrent. Over time,  whatever we do on a continuous basis becomes a habit.

Our habits become a lifestyle.

But are you achieving your goals?  And if not, why not? Have you considered how you currently spend your time and energy? Do you have good intentions, but fail to follow through?


So, how do we move from good intentions to productive habits?

We continue doing the things we do because we get some kind of reward.  If our rewards are immediate and pleasurable they soon dominate our life and we don’t bother with long-term goals. We grab a bite to eat at the deli instead of fixing dinner at home.  We are tired after work and spend time on social media or mindlessly play video games. We convince ourselves we deserve this downtime. However, it is easy to become addicted to doing whatever feels good at the moment.


How would you rate your habits

Habits are not just our actions, but also include our patterns of thinking. When life gets tough and we get discouraged, we often begin making excuses, blaming others, and seeing everything in the world through the lens of everybody else getting all the breaks while we have to struggle.

When our habits continue to be based on how we feel at the moment, we stop considering all the things we can accomplish and do if we put our mind to it. It requires honest reflection in what is not working today and a commitment to making the changes necessary to replace the old with new, well-defined goals and plans of actions.

Do you find yourself in some of the following examples?

  • Always thinking of reasons why I can’t do something
  • Relaxation times are conditioned by how I am feeling at the moment
  • Time with family is hit and miss depending on when everyone can get together
  • Chores are done only when I can’t stand the mess any longer
  • I would rather do something fun than what needs to be done
  • I’ll do it tomorrow – today I want to play
  • I continue to spend time with others who don’t self-regulate or self-discipline
  • I operate on a feel-good moment rather than a scheduled timeframe

Constructive habits look at long-term rewards and benefits. It takes into consideration what I am currently doing, what I would like to accomplish, and puts in place schedules and time management strategies that will help me achieve those goals.

To replace a habit we first need to become aware of what we are currently doing. Keep a record of your time and observe your typical daily patterns. Become aware of your patterns of thinking and how your attitude may be influencing you in a negative manner.

Self-regulation helps you do more of the things you want and still take care of daily necessities and chores. Time management enables you to make better decisions based on your long-term goals and helps you discover what is keeping you from accomplishing them now.

Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC


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