Worry Not! How To Change Your Life The Easy Way

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change-your-lifeWhy does changing your life feel so hard?!

I’ve often asked myself the same question, after trying many times to change.

More specifically, to get personal, I have habits that have annoyed my family.

Without telling on myself too much, I’m going to share one of those annoying habits with you, and tell you how I’ve been making real progress in the last two months.

Locus of Control

“In personality psychology, locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe they can control events affecting them. Understanding of the concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, and has since become an aspect of personality studies.”

Source: Wikipedia

I’m 47.  Yet it’s taken me almost that long to realize that certain of my habits annoy other people.

Take singing.  I love to sing.  But my son, who is sensitive to noise, is bothered by it.

Many many times, he’s yelled at me to stop.  But, offended that he was yelling at me, I would continue to sing. 

Not only that, but I wasn’t aware of how often I was singing.

When David would yell, my daughter would get upset, and then my wife would be upset.

Until I realized that I am responsible to change what I can on my side of the relationship (giving up my singing habit, at least when he’s around), I wasn’t able to stop.

In the same way, you may wish other people would change.  But guess what: in most cases they won’t.

The only person you can change, is you!

And when you do start to change yourself, others will often respond positively in return.

(There are exceptions, I’m aware, like with narcissists, as a colleague has pointed out, but I’m talking generally in this article).

Self Awareness and Executive Functioning Challenges: An Interesting Twist 

Once you accept that you can change yourself, you need to start noticing what habits are holding you back from the results you desire.

For example, as I was writing out my goals this year, I realized that my annoying behavior of singing is a major obstacle to a better relationship with my son, daughter, and wife.

So I had to become more aware of how often I am doing that annoying behavior.

In her article, Managing Impulsivity Through Self-Regulation , Michelle Weiner Davis explains that  impulsive behavior is often perceived by others as unexpected and therefore can result in rejection. 

Many adults with Aspergers and/or ADHD struggle with self-awareness.

Self regulation, or self-awareness about our own thoughts and feelings, and the thoughts and feelings of others, is a key skill to getting along with others.

So, how can you develop self-awareness?  Read on, and I’ll show you how to do it with ease.

Change Your Thinking

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

Change your thinking about what or who should change.

Without question, there are a million things I wish others around me would change about themselves.

But, as Brian Tracy points out in the following video, you ultimately are the only person you can change.

If any of your happiness is dependent on others changing, you’re in trouble.

But, by changing your thinking about your behavior (as in, “I’m responsible to change what I can in myself”) AND changing your behavior, your relationships will change for the better.

(Again, with the caveat pointed out by a colleague, that in dysfunctional families, or when narcissists are involved, positive self-change may provoke those unhealthy people to treat you more badly.  Again, for this article, I’m talking about the more general population).

Self-Discipline: The Key to Change

Self-discipline is one aspect of adult ADD, which often overlaps with Aspergers. 

So, we can transfer social thinking skills to our own lives to become better able to manage how we react and respond to others in our environment.

More specifically, we can work on becoming more self-aware of behaviors we need to change, and then start self-monitoring what kind of progress we are making toward reducing or increasing negative or positive behaviors.

(To read more about how this works, you may also want to read one of my previous articles,  How to Decrease Social Awkwardness In One Evening)

How I Have Been Changing My Life: And How You Can, Too

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

Here’s the 5 Step Process I’ve Been Using To Change My Life, And You Can Use It, Too!

  1.  Think about what you really want, and think about locus of control.  For example, I wanted a closer, more loving relationship with my wife and children.  In my case, I had to realize that I’m the key to making changes in those relationships.  If I sit around and “wait” for them to “change”, I may be waiting a long time!
  2. Ask yourself whether there are certain behaviors that get in the way of getting to your goal.  In my case, I’m picking out only one annoying behavior (of many!) to work on: singing in the presence of my family.
  3. Figure out a way to track your progress.  This is where the Secret Sauce comes in.  It’s called the Way of Life App, and it’s free!  Download it, and walk yourself through the initial directions.  (In case you want to watch more instructional videos for how to use it, go here).
  4. Once you’ve downloaded the app, add all the positive and negative behaviors you want to track.  For example, this is unrelated to my family, but I have a goal to run a marathon this year.  So I track my running.  When I first create the new entry, I entered “go running”.  The app then asks me if this is Good or Bad for me.  I also created an entry called, “No singing when my wife and kids are around”, and I said that this is Good for me.
  5. Record Your Progress Daily.  I’ve been tracking my behavior over six weeks, and I’ve loved seeing the green (good habits) trend up!  You can view your progress many ways.  By looking at the trends, you’re practicing self-awareness and self-monitoring, two key executive functioning skills for making positive changes in your life.

Here’s My Call To Action For You!

  1.  
    a. Enter '0' to get the resource free b) Entering your email will sign you up for my free newsletter as well
  2. Listen to this Aspergian, David Finch, who I interviewed in this episode, and listen to how he used many of these ideas turn his marriage around.  Take a listen!
  3.  Contact me to let me know how your process of change is going.

photo credit: Abe Novy

 

 I'm Steve Borgman.  I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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