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Our habits can greatly affect our lives, but we often take them for granted. Sometimes we don’t even
realize we’ve developed a habit, good or bad. They are formed through our thoughts, attitudes, and ultimately, our actions.
As teenagers go through school, build relationships, take on more responsibilities, balance homework and perhaps a part-time job, they are developing habits that will stay with them for years or maybe even the rest of their lives. They are at a critical point, building a foundation of habits that will greatly influence their success or failure in the future.
What habits do you notice your teen developing? Do you pay attention to his actions, the words he uses or the friends he makes? Does she have a routine to her day that helps her accomplish her goals? Do you try to help your teen break bad habits and develop good ones?
Breaking a bad habit may mean more than just giving something up; sometimes it means replacing it with a good habit. This can be difficult for teens who may be stuck in a bad habit and not know how to turn it into a good one. But negative attitudes and actions can be reversed, and positive, beneficial habits can be formed. The first step is identifying the habit you want to change.
The book SUCCESS for Teens™ uses real-life examples of teenagers who overcame bad habits and formed good ones. It also discusses several practical steps to form good habits.
Sixteen-year-old Emily Orchier tells her story of developing a healthy habit that completely changed her attitude and saved her from depression.
Emily would isolate herself in her room and not want to do anything. One day her mother made her get out of bed and go walk the dog with her. It was a warm March day, and as Emily described, “It had been a long time since the warmth of the sun had touched my cheeks.”
Complaining the entire walk, Emily reluctantly followed her mom through the neighborhood. But by the time they got home, she was actually starting to feel better. “I felt as if a ton of bricks had been lifted from my heart,” Emily said. “I didn’t know how to handle it.”
Emily had been depressed for so long she didn’t know how to be happy. The bad habit of isolating herself from others was hard to shake. Still, that walk made her life almost feel right again. Soon she started walking her dog every week. As spring bloomed, she discovered different fields and paths to follow on her walks that were filled with flowers. Before she knew it, Emily had developed a healthy habit of walking. And she loved it.
She began walking every day, greeting other dog walkers, runners and cyclists, and even made friends on her walks. Gradually, her depression lifted, and even though now she doesn’t have time to walk as much as she used to, she still makes time for some walking every day.
Emily had fallen into a dangerous habit, but with her mom’s help, she took the necessary simple steps to break out of it. By developing a good habit, Emily began to enjoy things she otherwise would not have experienced.
One of the great things about developing good habits is they can become a natural part of your life. You begin to do them without thinking about them. But this is also true of bad habits. It’s important that you show your teenager how to shed the bad habits and replace them with good ones that will serve them their entire lives.