My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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Do you want to stop nagging?

Handpoint

One of my main goals for the Happiness Project has been to stop nagging, for three reasons. First, people don’t like being nagged. Second, nagging doesn’t work. Third – and I didn’t really understand this until I’d cut back on my nagging – it makes me feel bad about myself. I don’t like feeling a shrewish, badgering person.

I hit on several strategies to stop nagging the Big Man, and I’ve managed to improve. One Wednesday, I posted a list of tips for getting to do your sweetheart to do chores–without nagging that worked for me.

Once I started paying attention to my nagging, I realized that I also nag the Big Girl quite a bit (the Little Girl is still too young to be a target for nagging).

In particular, my nagging takes the form of repeating instructions over and over, before giving her a chance to comply.

For example, the Big Girl was supposed to bring an extra pair of shoes to school today. I reminded her at breakfast. I reminded her while she was getting dressed. Then, as I was putting the Little Girl into the stroller for the walk to school, I started to yell a reminder.

But I thought—no. Don’t nag. Not only is my nagging an aggravation, it shows that I don’t think she can remember to get the shoes on her own. Two reminders was already one more than necessary.

I choked back my words, and sure enough, she showed up a few minutes later with the spare shoes in her hand.