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Barbara’s Behavior Exchange Challenge…...

Barbara’s Behavior Exchange Challenge….A New Resolution.

We all suffer from unhappy times, but not everyone is ‘unhappy’ with life in general. There is a big difference between feeling unhappy and being unhappy, and it is often created through our own actions.  Happiness is one of those vague emotions that you can’t always measure.  How many times have you heard the expression “Happiness is a choice”?  Really?  It’s just that easy?  We asked each other, here at middleSage if we could be happier.  The answer was always…”of course, I could be happier”.  After all this discussion, I’ve come to believe happiness is not a choice.  To borrow a line from Dr. Phil, I think we must behave our way into it.

file0001179129151Where do you fall on a happiness scale?  

We took the stress & happiness test and scored very high. Being two driven women you’d think that was one of the first things we’d achieve, but like most women, it seemed like everyone else’s needs were always coming before our own needs.  And now, again like so many women we know, we are finding the time, energy and courage to focus on our own long forgotten needs.

The first priority is to be as happy as we possibly can be.  We stumbled on several interesting articles and they pretty much all say the same thing.  We are the masters of our own happiness.  In all the articles we read, we are using one in particular to launch this challenge.  Why?  Because who needs a short list when a list of 22 Bad Habits could really make it interesting.  You’ll a few of the articles we used over in our sidebar.

As we get started, we’ve provided a worksheet you can use to do your own challenge….there is a space provided for you to make your own new resolutions.  We hope you’ll be documenting your progress along with us.  We’ll log in everyday and talk about our “challenges”.  I am hopeful that, together can find ways to reframe and cope with the things that stand in our way of being (even a little bit) happier.

The worksheet lists all the bad habits we’re working on changing, but here they are again:

Chronic Complaining

Retail Therapy

Binge Drinking

Worrying About The Future

Waiting For The Future To Begin

Lack Of Hobbies

Poor Eating Habits

Thinking / Talking To Or About Others

Holding Grudges

Stopped Learning New Things

Failing To Follow Through

Hating Your Job

Are You Lonely

Negative Thoughts Entering Your Mind

Always Jumping To Conclusions

Magnifying Situations

Minimizing Situations

Negatively Self Labeling

Lacking Goals

Worrying About What Others Might Think

Letting Strangers Affect Your Mood

Wanting More Money

When you look over this list of Bad Habits, it’s easy to think…”hey, this just isn’t applicable to me, I don’t do that”.  Once we started taking a hard look at ourselves and talked openly about it to friends and husbands we realized we may just be more guilty of practicing these bad habits than we thought.

So here we go, a month long challenge to change our bad habits and ultimately see if, by the end of this month, we will both realize a heightened state of happy.

Photo on 12-10-12 at 10.19 AMBarbara’s Behavior Exchange Worksheet

Brother!  I had no idea this was going to be this difficult!  We started talking about this earlier in the month, so I’ve had a few weeks to become aware of my bad self before our beginning here today.  I was amazed at how many times I caught myself in the act.  I’ve enlisted my husband to help catch me in the act of being me.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to take the advice of Gretchen Rubin, Author of “The Happiness Project”;

“As a toddler, I don’t handle noise or crowds well. I can’t be in that kind of situation for long.”

It’s easy to expect that you “should” be able to deal with a particular situation, and of course, to a point, it’s admirable to be flexible, to be low-maintenance. But I realize that I’m much happier — and more fun to be around — if I recognize my limits.

I can’t expect to like what doesn’t work for me….I think I need to recognize it, take care to avoid those things and then learn to cope with the rest.  I’ve realized, through this process that most of my inner turmoil is indeed caused by how I internalize things.  I am looking forward to being free of some of these bad habits….I may need your help!  Please…I welcome your suggestions!

[gview file=”http://www.middlesage.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Barbaras-Behavior-Exchange-Challenge1.pdf”]


  1. […] fess up to some negative behavior patterns.   Then we set about changing them in our month long Behavior Exchange Challenge.  I am still working successfully at dropping those negative behaviors and adopting new behaviors […]

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