About 2 months ago, Fiancé got a wild hair to clean out and rearrange our kitchen. I know, you want to marry him, but you cannot, he is MINE! He cooks too, by the way. Amazing.
Anyhoo, for the past two months, every morning, I go to get my cereal bowl and find the drinking glasses. Every morning, I curse myself for not remembering they have moved. Then, I remember that they were in that spot for 24 months prior to that, so maybe it just takes some time to un-do our old habits. I really hope it does not take me two years to learn this new behavior!
I have used this example with kids as an easy way to think of how hard it is to break a habit. Sometimes, I bust out a calculator and we punch in how many times a day they think they do the OLD behavior (get out of seat without permission, tell themselves they are dumb, forget their homework), then ask how long they have been doing it (2 years? 6 months? 5 years?) and write down the total number of times they practiced the old behavior. Then, we calculate how many times they have done the NEW behavior and write it down. I ask them what they notice. Inevitably, the number of times they have done the NEW behavior is always substantially less, and it keeps the kids from beating themselves up for wanting to change, but not being able to right away. Then the teachable moment is that it takes PRACTICE to do things a new way.
We all can empathize, right? Especially those of us who are human, and break our New Years Resolutions by February. So be patient with yourself too! Okay, please excuse me, I am going to go get my cereal bowl from the new spot. I’m on my way…