Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Creating Better Habits Challenge

I consider most of what keeps us from being as self-empowered as possible—bad habits. Many develop while growing up but can happen any time you do something over and over until it becomes automatic. When I decided to stop being a DoorMat, I worked on breaking the habits that hurt my self-image. Breaking habits feels more manageable than a psychological makeover. It can be applied to ANY area of your life, work or play.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” You CAN create better habits in ALL arenas of your life! And use them to achieve excellence!


Break one habit at a time. I broke those that reinforced seeing myself in a poor light and treating myself worse than I did others. Once you begin to break habits that aren’t for your good, you can then create new, healthier ones. I used to think being a DoorMat was my destiny. It felt hopeless. Striving to become someone I wasn’t seemed too daunting—until I began to identify my DoorMat habits, one at a time. That allowed me to break them!

Seeing what I did to reinforce my DoorMat lifestyle—saying “yes” automatically, attacking myself with nasty words for my faults, expecting people to dump on me, ignoring my needs—as bad habits gave me hope that I could do something about it. And I did!


When I saw my behavior as bad habits, instead of faults or an indelible part of me, I slowly paid more attention to my actions and thoughts. Patience was tough but I tried hard, since I was tired of feeling lousy about myself. At first, I just observed my habits. Eventually I stopped myself before doing or thinking things that always seemed automatic. I continue to maintain a heightened awareness of how I treat myself. But my good habits have now solidly replaced those that were harmful to my sense of self and well-being.

I even created habits of doing specific things to keep my apartment neater, which made me feel more in control. That broke my slob-a-holic ones!

I catch myself fast when I think negatively or allow poor treatment. It feels great to let go of old habits. Now I’m in the habit of being good to myself and other helpful routine activities. For example, after reminding myself over and over to hit save after every few sentences when I’m writing, I don’t even think about doing it anymore. It’s become a habit that protects my writing!


John Dryden said, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” Navigate your habits so they make you a better person.

Begin by raising your self-awareness. You don’t have to change behavior yet. Pay attention for now. Don’t rush to break lifetime habits. It took me years to get where I am. Start by becoming aware of how you’re in the habit of thinking of yourself in various situations and what behavior you’re so used to doing that it’s become a habit. Identifying habits helps you develop better ones, which increases your self-empowerment!

The Creating Better Habits Challenge is to identify behavior that can be replaced by a better habit. Since I consider almost all behavior a habit, it can be related to anything that can make a positive difference in your life—a new habit for thinking about specific situations, responding to things that bother you, how to say “no,” letting go of clutter, improving health or fitness, losing weight, dealing with a parent, coping with loss, having better relationships, becoming better at a skill, having a better blog. The topics can be about anything.


The Creating Better Habits Challenge is open to anyone who wants to participate. I posted mine–“I’m Not an Idiot, I’m Silly”—if you want to see an example. Here are some guidelines.

1. Write a blog post about how to break a habit and replace it with one—big or small—that can lead to improvement in some aspect of life.

2. Please include that the post is a part of the Creating Better Habits Challenge and include a link and/or trackback to this post so readers know more about it.

3. At the end of your post, tag fellow bloggers and email to let them know they’ve been tagged.


4. Include a link and/or trackback to the blogger who tagged you.

5. Please send me the title and link to your post when it’s up and I’ll list them below.

6. Check out other people’s posts and comment, Stumble, Digg, etc. any that you enjoy. It’s a great habit to support others and brings back many rewards!

I TAG these bloggers:

Carol at Toxic Burden
Lorraine at Powerfull Living
Chris at
Rebecca at Modite
Gamy at Mind Think Success
Priscilla at Personal Development Demands Success
Peter at I will change your life . com
Tina at Think Simple Now
Bob at every every minute
Joy at Mamapalooza


Thanks to those who’ve participated:

Gamy at Mind Think Success posted Loving Yourself Is A Good Habit To Start
Carol at Toxic Burden posted Creating Better Habits
Chris at posted The potential of creating better habits
Tristan at Synergy Institute posted Step Away From the Whopper!!
Lorraine at Powerfull Living posted Turning Negative Habits Into Empowering Actions
Brad at posted The missing link to success!
Stephen at Adversity University Blog posted Unleash Pure, Raw Spiritual Power by Changing a Habit
Ellen at Positive Communication posted Trying To Be More Compassionate
Lola Fayemi at Real World Spiritual and Personal Development posted Overhauling old limiting habits to transformational success-attracting habits


If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon. Thanks!

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  • therapydoc

    It would be an interesting world if people had only good habits. I can’t imagine. Let’s see what people come up with.

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Yes, it would be interesting but there’s no such thing as perfection. But a consciousness about what you do automatically can make a positive difference.

  • Albert | UrbanMonk.Net

    Very nice, I love the personal touch you’ve put in. And the overall blog – I used to be a doormat too, and your story is fantastic. I think I’ll learn a lot from you!Cheers,Albert | UrbanMonk.NetModern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Thanks for stopping by Albert, and for your kind words! I appreciate it. :) I’m trying hard to educate people about how to empower themselves in a nice way.

  • Chris

    Hey Daylle,Thanks for the tag. I loved your article and agree with you whole-heartedly. I am swamped with things to do ( Rotater stuff ), but I have a good idea of how I am going to approach this opportunity and I hope to have something published in a couple of days. Thanks again, your the greatest.

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Thanks again for your kind words Chris! I look forward to reading your post and am delighted that you’re so busy with Rotater related good stuff! : )

  • Tristan

    Daylle,I was tagged by Chris and now my post is up at:,Tristan

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Thanks for participating Tristan! : )

  • Brad Baggett

    Daylle, thank you for starting such an interesting challenge. Chris tagged me and I now have a post up. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Keep up the great work on your blog, you are a true talent. Please keep sharing your gift!

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Thanks again for your kind words Brad! The more ideas we come up with, the more ideas that we and our readers can break! : )

  • Ellen

    Hi Daylle,thanks so much for this Challenge. It made me really take the time to think about it, and contemplate on my own habits. And what better time than these days to start with such a resolution to make a positive difference, in my own life, and with that, hopefully in the life of others! My post’s up now, might need some re-editing though (another bad habit ;-))The Challenge also made me aware of your great blog, I added it to my reader!Thanks again, and warm wishes to you for a peaceful 2008 filled with love and joy,Ellen!

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Glad that you participated Ellen and that you found it helpful! I appreciate your kind words about my blog.

  • Lola Fayemi

    Hey DaylleGreat challenge, I really took my time to figure out what habits I could change, it really made me think so thanks a lot. It’s something I will definitely use in the future and with clients. Here’s my post love, light and abundance x x x

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