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What is most important for parents? Part II – A Hard look on our bad habits

In my first post in asking the question, what is most important for new parents to focus on, I answered the question with a simple answer, live as though your kid will emulate your every action and behavior. Leading by living is the simplest way to teach to the young ones.

One way to approach living a life to be modeled is to incorporate new aspects into your life that you feel will lead to better living. For example, incorporating exercise, eating right, proper sleep, etc.

Today, we take a look at the other side of the coin…removal of the not-so-good habits, actions, and behaviors in our lives.

Serious Struggles

I am going to skip over some of the big ones. Even though many parents struggle with addiction to the following challenging habits that they would give anything to keep their child from succumbing to the allure, this post will not attempt to hit the addictions of alcohol, smoking, pornography, gambling, and eating disorders.

If you are struggling with these issues, I encourage you to seek help with the following:

Hidden Struggles

I would like to preface this next section by stating that none of us are perfect. It might be good to take just a few moments before proceeding further to set your mind with your powerful intention. Frame your mind to be open to doing the hard work to eliminate the negative thoughts that will more than likely enter.

After you take a moment to frame your mind, let’s look at a few of the hidden struggles we modern parents can take a look at:

Entertainment Consumption: Television, Netflix, Streaming, Sports

Before children, I spent a significant amount of my free time consuming all types of entertainment. I would spend multiple evenings following my favorite basketball team (I’m from Los Angeles – sorry guys!). As a child, I would watch every baseball game of my favorite team.

In a study done in 2018, the U.S. bureau of labor statistics studied how much time we spend consuming television. Nothing here is startling. We know we spend a lot of time consuming entertainment.

The harmful effects of watching television are sometimes more subtle than obvious, such as the feeling of wasting the day away.

Initially, when I took a look at my consumption of sports and how much time I spent each week watching, I took a diary and logged my time in. It wasn’t until I reviewed my numbers to see that each week, even by fast-forwarding through the recorded games, I would spend roughly 7 to 10 hours each week keeping up with the games.

7 to 10 hours is enough time to run a small side business.

7 to 10 hours is enough time to get myself in incredible shape.

7 to 10 hours is enough time when devoted to a child, could completely transform their self-confidence, feeling of connectedness, and ability to cope with difficult circumstances.

To Do: Take a log for one week of your daily activities. It is often surprising to review how many hours slip away to areas that are not moving us in the direction we want to head.

I grappled with my sports consumption and had to consider if watching the sports was valuable to my happiness. Did I feel better by watching the games, by talking about the sports with my friends, by using it as motivation to drive my athletic training?

I decided for myself (and this can vary for you personally) to continue to observe sports, but limiting my time doing so. When approached from a motivational standpoint, observing sports can certainly be a benefit. When approaching from a social standpoint, keeping up with sports can be a quick way to break the ice in social environments. I made a plan to keep up with my favorite sports enough to be social, enough to leverage the motivational activities, but limited enough so that it did not become an obsession that infringed on bigger things I wanted to do in my life.

My desire to pursue a side business was greater, and needed more time to come to life. My desire to be a father and husband that spends significant time with my family needed some extra hours each week. My focus on improving myself needed to be prioritized and attended to first, before the sport consumption could be included.

I took the time to ensure better habits were incorporated first, and my habit of consuming sports was only allowed as a reward once my higher goals were achieved.

To Do: Make a plan (include time management tools if necessary) to incorporate positive habits that move you first, and then reward with your secondary pleasures (if you decide they are worthwhile to include in your life at all).

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