Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Behavior Changes! What do You Need, Knowledge or Desire?
Maybe some examples will help illustrate this point. Think about time management. Perhaps this is something you aren’t good at, and not being good at it is holding you back from achieving important goals. Is it really because you don’t know the standard techniques of effective time management? Probably not. Plenty of information is available at your finger tips: plan your time, learn to say “no,” differentiate between urgent and important. All of these bits of information would help you. You have the knowledge, but will the behavior change?
Conflict and anger management are another good example. Is conflict taking the joy from your days? Do you have trouble controlling your temper? We all know how ineffective we are at resolving problems when we’re really angry. This isn’t rocket science. Again, these types of problems are usually not due to a lack of knowledge. Just Google “anger management tips” and you’ll get over a million hits. Take a “time out.” Avoid the person who makes you angry until you can deal calmly with him or her. Get some exercise. Change your expectations. Talk it out with someone you trust; how is this person or situation making you feel and why? Listen to different perspectives, and then let it go; anger is hurting you more than the other person. Don’t scream; it causes an adrenaline rush that takes away all reason and logic. These are just a few tips I found in a 60 second search on the internet. Handling conflict well requires knowledge for sure, but knowledge doesn’t always improve behavior.
Here is a final example. Are you overly accommodating? Do you give in too easily but feel frustrated inside? Is it because you haven’t been told how to be more assertive? Again, probably not. You’ve probably had at least one boss or friend or relative give you a much needed “how to” lecture. No, it’s not because you don’t know how, it’s because you won’t.
I’ve been dealing with someone with an alcohol problem over the past many years. I am so often frustrated by his behavior. I often complain that he’s been to rehabilitation and countless A.A. meetings and certainly knows what he needs to do to say sober. But he doesn’t. It’s dragging down his life quickly, but he just won’t use the knowledge he’s been given. You might think, well that’s different, it’s a disease. Yes, I know; but what is it called when one of our own behavior problems is causing huge problems in our life yet we don’t stop? Isn’t it just a little bit the same? We can’t blame it on a disease, so what is it? Stubborn? Even when we have great advice and know exactly what we SHOULD do to improve our behavior, we don’t.