5 Things to Do When You Realize You Have an Awful Behavior


Sometimes you come to the realization that you have an awful behavior. Maybe people have told you this before, maybe you even thought about it yourself at some point, but now you really have this strong, bad feeling that your behavior is awful and that it affects you and others in many bad ways.

At these times, you might be feeling very depressed, because you look at past events and realize the cost of your awful behavior, but fear not – not all hope is lost. We now detail 5 things to do when you realize you have an awful behavior.

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Be Happy That You Realize You Behave Awfully


Most people get told several times during their life that they have at least one awful behavior. However, they don’t seem to listen, or when they listen, they don’t seem to really change it by much, if at all. Why is that?

Well, it’s usually a combination of not really caring that much, and the fact that working on changing something that’s already ingrained in you is very hard, so people don’t even bother trying, and resort to a “that’s me” type of reaction.

Also, many people are too arrogant to believe that they have some sort of awful behavior, no matter how many people will tell them that, and no matter how many things they lose because of that. They blame other people and perhaps the world for their awful behavior and the results it brings with it, often finding justifications for why it was ok to behave the way they did (any version of “it wasn’t my fault”).

When does that change? When their behavior costs them something so dear to them, that the shock of the loss makes them rethink their life. Then, they finally understand how they behave and that everybody warned them about it before it was too late, and they just feel terrible.

But feeling terrible is not going to help you much. What happened in the past has already happened, and you can’t change that. The only thing you can change is the future. You should be very happy that you’re at a point where you actually realize you behave awfully, because now you can finally change that and make the rest of your life much better.

So, look at the bright side, get excited about how much better your life is going to look like in the future once you change your behavior, and continue reading to find out other important things you should do.

Make a Committed Decision to Change


Your behavior does not define who you are. Deep down inside we are all wonderful people – we just have issues (some of us more than others). It’s very important to understand that your behavior is not “you”, but rather something you can control and change. Sure, it’s not easy to control and change a habitual behavior that is there for years, but it is possible and doable.

What you need to do first is to make a committed decision to change your awful behavior. What this means is that you are determined to change your behavior for the better, no matter how much time and effort it takes, and no matter how difficult or unpleasant it’s going to feel.

It is very hard to admit to yourself and to others that you behave awfully, and ask for people’s help and patience while you work on changing your behavior. It’s also very hard to change habitual behaviors. There will be times in which you will go back to your old behavior, and times in which you will feel the change is not working, but if you make a committed decision, you will successfully pass these moments and continue until your awful behavior is fully changed.

And again, be sure not to look at yourself as an awful person. You are who you choose to be, and you can always change your behavior. Your behavior is not something immutable that defines you, but rather the other way round – you are the one defining your behavior.

What to Do When You Realize You Have an Awful Behavior - Please Forgive Me Sign

Ask for Forgiveness


Your behavior has probably affected the people around you, to various degrees. Some of these people are close to you, some are more distant. Some you hurt many years ago, some only recently. It could be your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, romantic partner, or anyone else you came in contact with.

It’s important to ask these people for forgiveness, where it’s still relevant. Even if you haven’t talked to that person for a very long time, if there’s still a way for you to contact the person and ask for forgiveness, do it. They may not care, not remember what you’re talking about, or not forgive you, but you should do it anyway, without expecting anything in return. You’re doing this for yourself, because that’s the proper thing to do and it is part of admitting the problem.

Many times, you will get very positive reactions from the other side, including possibly an apology for their behavior. A lot of times people just want to feel understood and that their feelings are important, so when you take the first step, they take theirs as well. You may even be able to salvage a relationship by apologizing, but make sure you follow up with a real change of your behavior, or things will go back to where they were, or even worse.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you had a “good reason” to behave awfully – you still need to apologize. You are a much better person than what that awful behavior showed, and you’re apologizing for acting inappropriately in a moment of weakness. That does not mean that you’re ok with whatever the other person did, but remember – you’re not trying to start a fight or to educate the other person. All you’re doing is apologizing for your own awful behavior.

Apologize with a clean heart. Do not expect the other person to start apologizing too, or give you anything back in return. If, in the back of your mind, you apologize in order to get something back, that’s not a real apology that comes from the heart. Be sure that you apologize simply because you understand that you behave awfully and that’s not the kind of behavior you want to exhibit.

Forgive Yourself and Forget the Past


Once you’ve asked for forgiveness, no matter what reaction you got, make sure you forgive yourself. It’s very easy to start going into a loop of “I should have done that”, or “I can’t believe I screwed that opportunity”, or “oh my god, I lost her for good because I’m stupid – I can’t live with myself”. All these thoughts are not constructive and will not help you to move forward and become a better person.

Accept that what happened has happened, and that it’s probably final. Take whatever lessons you can out of it, use it as one more reason to enforce your commitment to change your awful behavior, and don’t think about it anymore. Dwelling in the past keeps you from moving forward, and simply makes you feel bad all the time.

Once you’ve apologized to the offended people, there’s really not much more that you can do. The best thing you can do for yourself and for them is to really change. An apology means nothing if it’s not accompanied by a real change. Or, as a friend of mine once put it, “why should I apologize if I know I’m going to do it again?”. Yeah… Well, you get the point – apologize and change your awful behavior for good.

Work Hard on Changing Your Behavior


Everything we talked about so far was the easy part. Comforting, isn’t it? Well, now it’s time to actually get to work and start changing your behavior. You must understand, though, that the longer your behaved awfully, the longer it will take and harder it will be to fully change your behavior. Expect gradual progress and substantial results only after a significant period. Of course, your perception of time is very subjective, but what I mean is that you shouldn’t expect to see amazing results “tomorrow morning”.

Start by fully understanding and deciding what you’d like your behavior to change to. Imagine yourself in different situations and find the proper way for you to behave in. You can use past situations to understand what was a better course of action, but don’t turn into an “I can’t believe I didn’t do this and that” situation. By now we should already understand that feeling sorry for ourselves is not going to help us much – on the contrary.

Once you understand the kind of behavior you want to exhibit in certain situations, start paying attention to these situations, or to cases in which you behave awfully. It’s only natural that at the beginning you will still resort to your old behavior in many cases, especially when you’re emotionally involved or react immediately. Try to at least realize that immediately after the fact, and possibly correct it then and there.

Since you’re still in a state where your instinctive reaction is your awful behavior, make a great effort not to react instinctively. Think before you react immediately. This is always a good advice. We can avoid a lot of problems if we just think before we react. Or, to put it differently, we respond instead of reacting.

Keep on gaining small wins in changing your awful behavior and you will start internalizing your new, good behavior and make it habitual. Once it’s fully habitual, it will replace your old behavior, and you will have also gained the great ability of self-control.

The important thing is to be patient, consistent, and not to quit. Stay positive and appreciate any small progress you are making. Many instances of small progress accumulate into big progress, which turns into a behavioral change.

What to Do When You Realize You Have an Awful Behavior - Evolution



In this post we described 5 things to do when you realize you have an awful behavior. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Understanding that you need to change your behavior is already a great achievement.
  2. Be happy looking at your expected future instead of dwelling on the past.
  3. Make a committed decision to change, no matter how hard it’s going to be and how long it’ll take.
  4. Ask for forgiveness from others, but also forgive yourself and move on.
  5. Work hard on yourself to change your awful behavior, one step at a time, and be patient and positive about it.

Changing an awful behavior is not an easy thing to do, but it will reward you for the rest of your life. Stay strong and committed, work on yourself, accept the help of others, and see great things happening to you.

Good luck!

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