Ever try to quit anything cold turkey? It is so hard, no matter what you are trying to quit.
Ever break up with a boyfriend (especially as a teen) and try so hard not to think about them? What happens? You can’t get your mind off of them. You dial their number just to hang up, write a letter just to throw it in the garbage. (Now that you all know I was totally a teen before technology became a thing).
Ever yell at your kids to not run and they only seem to hear RUN! Scientific studies have shown that we don’t actually process the word NO within a command. Makes so much sense now, doesn’t it? But then again, how are you supposed to get your children to listen? Reframe in the positive. How do you forget the stupid ex boyfriend? Think of someone/thing new.
How do you quit snacking after dinner? Create a new habit.
I often use the mindless snacking in front of the tv as my example. A new habit may be reading, going for a walk, or as simple as sitting in a different chair.
I recently read a book called Habit Stacking, and he talked about tips o creating habits that are small, don’t take much time and effort. He gave the example of creating a habit around flossing. He suggests committing to flossing one tooth every day. Soon enough, it is easy to just floss all of your teeth.
Often times the hardest part is “remembering” the habit. I am a huge fan of alarms and reminders. Set your phone to go off to drink water every hour, you can even change the alarm name to something like “Chug a lug.” Set an alarm to get dressed to work out, to eat pre work out snack, to walk out the door to the gym, as many as it takes to keep moving on the path to actually working out. There are even so many apps and websites set to make you successful, you just need to find what works for you and the new habit you are trying to create.
While it makes sense to create a new routine around your evening to stop mindless snacking in front of the tv, it isn’t always such an easy switch. If your bad habit is smoking, you may need to change the route you drive, if your smoking trigger is a boredom type of thing. If you smoke because you are sad, maybe instead of just not smoking, you need to join a group that fills you up (book club, volunteer work, Church group). To some degree, you need to know your trigger and why it is your trigger. Then put yourself in a position to successfully create new habits that don’t encourage the same, old behavior.
The thing about habits is that at some point, they become automatic. The key is to keep going until it is automatic.
Clearly you have been inspired to create new, healthy habits to overcome old, bad habits. How do you turn inspiration into motivation? Motivation is something that can be created through action. The motivation to work out will not strike as you sit on the couch. You must will yourself to change clothes, drive to the gym, and start working out before the motivation strikes. Motivation actually comes from the formation of the habit. At first, you just need to push through the doing process and the automation of the habit will follow.
Being healthy isn’t easy. I can guarantee that it is worth it. Once you make on healthy choice for the day, each next healthy choice will become easier and easier.
What bad habits are you hoping to break this year? What healthy habits will you be crating in their place?
If you need some suggestions, I thought I’d leave you with some habit building/tracking apps. Commit To Three, Streak, Water Logged, Coach.me. You can set several apps to send push notifications, reminding you to enter the app/complete your daily habit. Some apps, like buddhify and my fitness pal will give you streak stats and send notifications if you haven’t used the app in so many hours/days.