~ Attitudes are Contagious - Is Yours Worth Catching?

8th January 2020

It is a given that it takes twenty-one days for a new habit to form. However it may take years to replace an old habit. Why is this? The reason is because once a habit is fully entrenched, possibly over years, it forms a neural pathway. Although we may think a new habit has replaced an old one after twenty-one days, it has been my experience that it is easy to revert. Our brains are wired to take the easy road! Though replacing old habits with new ones is a good idea as it helps build a new neural pathway.

Unfortunately though, it is not that simple. For example, following on from my previous blog, if we are in a relationship and display behaviour in disagreements that may be seen as manipulative, intimidating or passive aggressive to get our agenda served, then it could destroy our relationship. We may wake up and take responsibility and decide to make changes, that is if we want to keep the relationship. The question is how do we do that, old habits die hard!

The first step is recognition of our behaviour. Often in a partnership both are at fault as one partner enables the other partner to act in the way they do. To break this habit takes commitment. Commitment is the next step. I say commitment rather than goals, as commitment is a much stronger concept. By committing to changing ourselves we have a chance that the other person will change too. This isn’t always the case, as the only person we can change is ourself. Though often when one person changes it is a catalyst for positive change in the other.

If we want to keep and improve relationships we need to commit. It becomes a compelling reason. Commitment builds relationships, whereas lack of commitment ends them. So what actions can we take to change a situation? The first that comes to mind is to not react and instead respond. It sounds easy but it requires effort and it is a good commitment to make. As a couple you might make an agreement to address certain behaviours and discuss how you would like your interactions to be to enjoy an improved communication style. Be willing to fall and get up again. Perhaps have a “kitty” for the not-so-successful attempts and use this to do something special together. For example we may have a heated disagreement and we don’t own our part of the issue. Later we may reflect and realise we are part of the problem. The “kitty” whatever you decide as a couple could be something like an impromptu movie or dinner or whatever suits you both and during that time be able to clear the air with your reflected position.

How long does it take? Well that depends on what you want to achieve and if the goal is worth the effort. If it is then pursue and enjoy the journey.

Alex Roberts