Strategizing behavior replacement

Two females running on a bridge

We’ve often heard the adage about replacing a negative habit with a positive one. However, it’s a misconception to believe that the only way to overcome a bad habit is to replace it. While many habits can be curtailed through sheer willpower and determination, there are instances where substitution can be a more effective and enriching approach.

The key lies in pinpointing the exact behavior you wish to eliminate and identifying the new habit you intend to adopt in its place. It’s crucial to thoughtfully select this new “Golden Habit”; a hasty or ill-considered choice might lead to the replacement failing. Simply adopting a behavior because it seems beneficial might not yield the desired results.

To ensure your Golden Habit is a perfect fit, it should meet three criteria:

  1. Impact: The behavior yields positive results.
  2. Motivation: You genuinely desire to engage in the behavior.
  3. Ability: You possess the means and capability to perform the behavior.

Consider this scenario: You’re grappling with impatience or anger, especially when your teenager acts carelessly. Instead of reacting sharply, you aim to respond with understanding and positivity. The key is to “remap” your cues. For instance, if irritation is your trigger, and your usual response is to snap at your child, try a different approach. Let’s say your child takes out a yogurt but forgets to close the fridge. Instead of reprimanding them, you could remark, “It’s great to see you choosing a healthy snack.” By consistently practicing this new behavior and celebrating each success, you not only reinforce your desired identity as a compassionate parent but also model positive behavior for your child.

Embrace the journey of embedding this new habit and take pride in every effort you invest.

Embrace Your Golden Habit