Caregiver Survival Tip #4
Break an Irritating Habit

IMG_1215My husband is the most intelligent, articulate, interesting man I’ve ever known . He’s about as close to perfect as a man can get – but he’s still a man. He has one habit that irritates me to no end. No matter how much notice I give him ahead of time, when I put a meal on the table, he inevitably finds something he has to do that delays the meal by several minutes.

The other day after the food had gotten cold while it took him five minutes to wash his hands, I told him this habit really irritated me. I said, “Considering the condition you are in right now, it’s probably not in your best interest to be pissing me off three times a day!”

In a calm and rational manner he pointed out that I wasn’t exactly perfect either. He mentioned that he spends a lot of time and effort closing drawers after I leave the kitchen. I was surprised and not sure that he was right. I decided to pay attention to see if he was just making this up. I discovered he was right. All of our drawers bounce back an inch or two after I close them with a foot, hip or even my hand. (We’ve lived in our house for 10 years. You would think I might have noticed that out by now.)

We made a deal. He’s going to make an effort to be prepared to come to the table when I announce a meal is ready, and I’m going to make an effort to give each drawer that extra little push and hold when I close it.

I’ve been doing this for a few days, and as odd as it sounds, it has given me a sense of empowerment to know that I have the ability to change a long-standing habit.

Caregivers come up against a lot of issues over which we have absolutely no control. So it’s good to know that regardless of our age, income or anything else that’s going on in our life, we still have the power to change.

Today I’d like for you to think about a habit you’d like to break. Whether you’re tired of always having to search for your keys and you want to start putting them in the same place every single time you come in the house, or you want to do something incredibly difficult like quit smoking, know that making these changes is within your power.

Remember the old saying, “I am the master of my own ship”? It’s true. You are in control of your actions. Start with making the decision that you want to change a certain behavior, and then pay attention and follow through. Within a month, your old habit will most likely fall away, and you will feel proud of your new and improved way of doing things.