Do you struggle to end your negative behavior? One discussion that happens regularly within my personal circles and professional masterminds is just how to stop negative behaviors that impact reaching your goals.
I am a huge proponent of positive self-talk. Often we talk ourselves out of doing great things before we even get started!
Whether it’s something you do to sabotage yourself or an action that affects others,
it’s important to examine the impact of what you’re doing.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could hone in on and change your difficult behaviors before they spread negativity all around you?
Positive behavior is important for all aspects of our lives, but we often forget about it. We focus on the negative, and we try to suppress or avoid it. But what if we could stop negative behavior and start practicing positive behavior? What would happen?
How to stop negative behavior
Here are some suggestions women from the Divas With A Purpose community have shared to encourage and support others in stopping negative behaviors during our meet-ups:
# 1: Recognize the action and commit to making a change.
It is important to identify the negative behavior to change it. If someone is unaware of their own behavior, they are unlikely to change it. One way people can identify their own negative behaviors is self-reflection.
Self-awareness and self-reflection are key steps in identifying and changing one’s own negative behavior.
Look in the mirror and say it out loud: “Only I can stop (fill in the blank).” Then, vow to yourself to make a concerted effort to cease the actions.
# 2: Analyze the Reasons for Your Negative Behavior
To understand the reasons for your negative behavior, a good step is to list the things that trigger you.
Some people behave negatively because they are stressed out and need a break from their work. Others might be having a bad day and venting their frustrations on others. Some people might feel low self-esteem and need validation from others.
# 3: Pay closer attention to what you’re doing.
So much of what we do each day is done without aforethought. If you consciously focus your thoughts on any actions you’re about to take, you’ll have an increased chance of stopping the negative behavior.
# 4: Slow down your thinking to stop focusing on negative behavior
When your mind starts racing, it’s your first clue that you might be about to take an action you may later regret. Take a deep breath and focus on positive action instead.
# 4: Identify situations, people and events that trigger your negative behavior.
For example, perhaps in social situations, you talk too much. You interrupt others, finish their sentences, and other people have little opportunity to talk. Take an honest look within yourself and your annoying behavior. When is it most likely to happen?
# 5: Decide what you’ll do instead.
We may not be able to change our old habits as easily as we would like, but we can replace them with new ones.
If you want to start a new habit, you need to take it step by step.
You can start by setting up a plan, and then work on it every day until it becomes a habit.
Keeping with this example, you could make the decision to “experiment” with listening to others, just to see what you can learn from them. You would talk less and practice listening each time you’re in a social situation. Later, ask yourself, “How did I do? How did it feel to listen instead of talk?”
Who knows what great things could happen from making a decision to cease your troublesome behavior!
# 6: Ask close friends and family members for their help in stopping the behavior.
For example, tell your sister that you’re trying to stop interrupting people so much. Ask her to touch your elbow at the family reunion tomorrow each time she notices you interrupting. This way, you’ll have a cue to stop the behavior.
# 7: Say you’re sorry when you engage in the behavior if it affects others.
Staying with the example of talking too much, as soon as you realize you interrupted someone, say, “I’m sorry I interrupted you. Please do go on. I’m interested in what you were saying.”
Showing humility will help you learn to stop the old behavior and change it to a more effective action.
# 8: Seek expert guidance if you need it.
If you’ve been working on your troublesome actions for a while and have had less success than you want in stopping them, asking a professional to assist you can be a big help.
Related Article: 11 things you can do to help overcome your negative thoughts
It’s up to you to avoid behaviors that cause you difficulties, keep you from attaining your goals, or discourage people from wanting to spend time with you. Remove your unwanted behaviors for good by putting the above steps into action. Remember, only you can stop your negative behaviors before they stop you!
Michelle D. Garrett is the founder of Divas With A Purpose. She focuses on sharing resources for being purposely productive; setting personal and professional goals and achieving them through daily action; and successfully running a business while focusing on your mental health. Michelle is a full-time entrepreneur who specializes in teaching female entrepreneurs how to show up consistently in their business – online and off.