I find whenever there is a recurring theme in my work, it usually means I need to pay attention to it. I’ve been describing my interpretation of bad habits to so many people this week. (FYI, I checked this interpretation with a psychologist friend of mine and she completely concurred. S-M-R-T, I am so smart).
A habit is essentially a neural pathway in your brain that is much like a path in a dense forest. You are always going to take the beaten path, because you don’t want to trek through all the dense bush. If the path for you is salty foods, and the trigger is stress, then any sign of stress will lead you to salty foods. Get it?
In order to create a new path, you need to mow your way through the green – i.e. create a new habit. This can be very tough to do – but YOU CAN DO IT. So how do you do it? First you need to identify the triggers – write down any you can think of. Then figure out the reward you get for the habit (e.g. potato chips – they makes you feel good, stimulate your smell, taste and texture senses, etc). Lastly, figure out some alternatives to the habit and identify how they will give you those same rewards (e.g. homemade pita chips instead of potato chips). Then (now pay attention to this or the previous steps are a moot point) USE those new habits when you are aware of a trigger. And write down how you felt each time you did so.
Track this for 30 days and you’re golden. Okay, silver at least…once you’ve built a new habit you still have the old pathway so there is still a 50% chance you’ll use that old behavior. Still better than having only one unhealthy path though.
Best of luck out there in your potato chip forest folks. Now get out there and mow, mow, mow!
Enjoy this day!
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