I use the word “improper” because I hate using the word “bad”. Bad sounds evil or terrible, and some habits just aren’t that bad; they might be annoying but they are not bad. What improper habits do you have? We all have improper habits that we exhibit occasionally, especially with our spouse. For this particular article, I’m talking about the annoying little idiosyncrasies that we carry around on a daily basis that may or may not frustrate those we live with.
1. Identify Your Habits
First, identify your habits. If you’re not sure if you have any annoying habits, ask your spouse, I’m sure they will tell you. Maybe you leave the toilet seat up after using the restroom. Or, maybe you always have to be right in an argument. Or it could be that you leave your dirty laundry lying around the house, rather than putting it in the laundry basket. Maybe you like to put the medal to the pedal and drive too fast. Or, maybe you are compulsively late for appointments. You get the idea, right?
2. Write Down Habits
Headline your habit on an index card. Next write down a short statement to yourself on how you are not going to do that particular behavior anymore. Write something along the lines of, “Today I will not leave the toilet seat up. I will be considerate of my wife and daughters and put the toilet seat down for them”. Wherever your habit takes place, in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, car, or work, take your index card with you and tape it up where you can see it during the day, so you can defeat it once and for all! Do this for one month and watch your habit vanish for good.
3. Reward Yourself
For each annoying behavior you defeat, reward yourself with something you enjoy, whatever that may be. Just make sure that you do not reward yourself with something else that could turn improper later. Ah!
4. Don’t Accept Habits
This is the biggest reason we don’t try and change our behavior; we have accepted the habits as a part of who we are. But that’s not true. Habits are not “who we are” but rather “what we make ourselves be.” We choose to make ourselves the habits that we have. If we truly believe that we cannot stop doing a particular behavior then we won’t even try to eradicate it from our lives. It is up to the individuals to change themselves if they can acknowledge they have improper habits and behaviors then they can also choose to get rid of those things completely from their lives.
5. Talk To Your Spouse
I cannot say enough how important it is to be able to have additional support from the person you married. Let them know ahead of time the behaviors you are trying to conquer, and show them ways, in which they can help you. If your spouse is trying to break one of their habits, be encouraging and uplifting for them. If they slip try to not nag or rub it in their nose. Help them back up and tell them to not give up! Be there for your spouse!
Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 NIV