Monday, March 7, 2011

Sexual Health and Covey’s 7 Habits

My approach to sexual health integrates other helpful tools. Sometimes these tools are implicit such as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. You can read more at Wikipedia, but a super-brief summary is here with an application to sexual health.

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Your choices are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow. In the sexual health workbooks, I highlight this concept as assertiveness, integrity, and responsibility. You are where you are at because of choices you’ve made. It is no accident.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Clarify your values and life goals. I ask you to think about how a sexually healthy life would look, and help you put in place the values that reflect the sexual health.

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Review and assess if your behaviors reflect your values, and move you toward your goals. This is an ongoing task. Simply working through the workbook is the first part; reviewing the progress in response in the workbook is an ongoing task.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Valuing and respecting people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution. Your work in the workbook is done in the community of your support group including your partner. Sexual health isn’t a free-for-all, but sexual health may require difficult choices.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
Talking about sexual health leads to a deeper understanding of yourself and others. Engaging in respectful conversations can create amazing intimacy, and profound transformation. Your primary source of information occurs when you understand other’s journeys are a reflection of your journey.

Habit 6: Synergize
Long-term recovery in sexual health can only be done in a network. One of the first and one of the last assignments both address developing and confirming your support network. It is often the task people avoid.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
I concur with Covey’s importance of maintaining a balanced program in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. I obviously add a fifth area of sexuality.

Habit 8: Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.
In a later book, Covey adds an 8th Habit. This habit isn’t too different from the 12th step. By finding your truth in sexual health, you attract and promote sexual health in others. Simply standing in your truth allows others to seek their truth.

To your good sexual health!

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