Its a constant struggle the person I am vs. the person I want to be. It seems no matter how hard I try to build positive behavior patterns, I fight the momentum of my bad habits. I will often set a goal (to work out more, finish a project, ease up on something or someone) and do well with it – for about a day or two. And then, as much as I want to keep the momentum going, I get tired, lose focus, and slip back into my auto-pilot routine.
Its that whole creature of habit concept. We all have behavior patterns that are part of our daily routine. We like these habits, as they dont require much energy, thought or concentration. They make us feel safe. When we don’t have routines or rituals, our brains are in a state of hyper-awareness, making certain our basic needs are met. Normal breaks in our routine can be a good thing (ie: vacations) and can trigger eustress (good stress). However, when our schedules are constantly changing and we arent able to establish rituals, we are thrust into a state of distress (bad stress).
Im thinking we need to keep this in mind when interacting with our students, some of whom live in a perpetual state of distress. Distress is their default habit of behavior, which is why they bring it to the classroom in the form of negative behavior. So, be patient. Trying to change a habit is hard. I continually remind myself that just as I want to be a better person and make better behavioral choices, so too, do my students. In my quest to be a better person, I want to be surrounded by people who support me. I sure hope I am one of those encouraging people for the students with whom I work.