No one will go through life without problems. Learning to solve them efficiently is a hallmark of successful people. Solving personal problems can be more important than professional or work related problems, because your family may be suffering from your personal problems more than they would from your problems on the job.
There are two kinds of problems that you can learn to address using different skills: interpersonal problems and bad habits.
First, let’s look at how you can learn to avoid interpersonal problems:
Learn to show respect for other people. It is likely true that you already believe that others are entitled to their opinions and that they are equal to you in every way. Some people, however, fail to communicate that as they interact with other people.
You can learn to demonstrate respect to others in the following ways
This starts with being quiet while others speak, but more importantly requires mindfulness — actually paying attention. You’ll also want to indicate that you are actively listening by nodding, smiling when appropriate, occasionally repeating a key idea to let the person you are with know that you care. Do not use the time when someone else is speaking to formulate your own thoughts and arguments. Listen to learn and understand.
Seek to validate the people you interact with by acknowledging the validity of their concerns and problems, by seeking their input and by looking them in the eye.
Express love and appreciation
Especially with members of your family, it is important to express your love and appreciation clearly and frequently.
Now, let’s consider how to break a bad habit
The bestselling book, The Power of Habit, explains that habits operate in a cycle that begins with a cue that triggers a routine that, in turn, yields a psychological reward that reinforces the behavior. Habits form quickly — both good ones and bad ones.
The key to changing a bad habit is to understand those three steps. Let’s say for a moment that your bad habit is your temper and you are hoping to better control yourself.
Begin by writing down the situations in which you lose your temper. You may want to do this going forward, observing and writing down the details around outbursts you’d rather have avoided. You may observe some surprising facts: your bad temper may appear more often when you have not had enough sleep, haven’t had enough to eat or are rushed.
Those circumstances form part of the cue for you to lose your temper. You may be able to reduce your outbursts by simply reducing the frequency of being tired, hungry or rushed. Get a good night sleep or take a nap. Have a small snack in the afternoon. Organize yourself to avoid being rushed.
When you do get into those situations (tired, hungry or rushed) consciously choose a different response, one that will give you an even greater reward. Treat yourself to a candy bar or something else that you will enjoy to help release the tension that may be arising from a lack of sleep, food or other stress.
By simply understanding habits better, you can change your behavior and overcome your bad habits.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.