When a child misbehaves, or needs to change and shift their behavior, the adult in charge puts them into a time out for one minute for each year. After the time is up, the adult tells the child why they were put into time out and asks for an apology. Once received, the adult allows the child to continue on with their day.
Why, as adults, do we not use this practice on ourselves? Did we suddenly become so perfect? Of course not! As a child, our parent or guardian kept us accountable for bad behavior. Today, we are the accountable adult that keeps our behavior in check.
How can you, an adult, use the techniques of a time out to improve your bad behavior?
(1) Recognize when you are not being productive or when you are engaging in bad behavior. This can mean anything — bad behavior can include eating bad foods, yelling at someone, surfing the internet at work, or not being productive at the office.
(2) Write down your bad behavior on a piece of paper, ideally in a ‘time out’ journal. By writing down your bad behavior, you’ll be able to remind yourself later of why you put yourself in a self imposed time out. By putting it into a journal, you can elaborate later about how you got to that mental place to begin with, and see if you have a consistent pattern of putting yourself into a time out for the same thing. It will help you identify if a patterned ‘time out’ is a habit you need to change.
(3) Take your time out. As an adult, though, you don’t have to stand in a corner. Ideally, go for a walk, sit on a park bench, or take a bath for one minute for each year of your age. You can also opt to go for a jog or a power walk if your schedule allows. During your time out, you are not allowed to watch TV — that part hasn’t changed! 🙂 If time constraint is an issue, your time out should be a minimum of 15 minutes. The most important thing is that you find a change of scenery.
(4) Read your note from step 2. After your time out, read the note about why you put yourself there in the first place. Reflect now, with a clearer head, what you feel you were doing wrong or what your changed perspective is. Write down your thoughts below the quote.
(5) Apologize to yourself and do a five second ‘self hug.’ Reward yourself for recognizing your ‘bad behavior’ with a self hug. Embrace yourself and close your eyes for five seconds. Then, put your journal away and move on with your day!
You will feel refreshed, have an altered shift of personal energy, and be empowered to conquer the rest of your day. Enjoy!! Kpl 🙂