What habits do you want to change?

I don’t spend all my time watching TV, I promise, but I’m going to start yet another post with a reference to a particular show. There’s a programme called “Honey, we’re killing the kids” which each week presents a couple with obnoxious children, who live off junk food, take no exercise, etc.

The parents are keen to have help, but the catch of the show is that they present computer generated photographs of what the children will look like in 30 years time. This leads to the parents freaking out and a frantic 3 weeks or so of sudden change in diet and habits – so you can get the new, hopefully improved images of what the children will look like if they sustain these changes.

To be honest the show is of very poor taste – not least because it doesn’t do much for the self confidence or self esteem of the children to be portrayed like this. Also because changes made in this way are unlikely to be sustainable. But it does throw up an interesting idea for us to work on – “what will I be like in X number of years if my current habits don’t change”

I say X because some of us don’t want to contemplate being 79!!! I suggest no more than 5. And I’ve sneaked in my favourite word, habits, again. Because its a neat way of summarising all of our behaviour – whether eating, exercise, work, leisure – because so much of what we do is routine and without stopping to make conscious decisions.

It’s easier to break this down into smaller chunks rather than trying to visualise the whole you. For example, a few years ago I looked at my leisure habits and projected forward to 2008. I was aware that I had gradually stopped doing any of my previous hobbies or interests, had become a chauffeur for our children and, despite having run two marathons, was becoming an armchair sportsman. I could see my future leisure consisting of watching TV, beer glass in hand, or reading the newspapers and magazines.

The idea of doing this sort of exercise is not to scare you or make you depressed. But the statement above ends “if my current habits don’t change”. If you like what you see, fine, don’t change. But if you don’t, the answer is simple – you need to make changes in your habits. Don’t do what they do on the TV show and make drastic changes in 3 weeks. Using problem solving to decide what changes you’d like to make, then plan how you you do them. Then – action.

With me, I replaced my running with Geocaching. I got a digital camera and rekindled my love of photography. Last year I started a digital photography evening class, which I’m still doing. I made some of my passive Internet surfing more constructive, and this year I started blogging!

Next post I’ll take this a stage further, looking more specifically at self confidence and other aspects of personal development

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