January 04, 2016
The New Year is synonymous with making New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like most of us, you’re determined to make positive changes and improve your life in the coming year.
Most of us are very serious about our intentions and determined to see them through, but for the vast majority of us, we have a very difficult time letting go of the old habits. And, we’re full of excuses. Let’s face it; we’re not even sure where to begin when it comes to making a personal change.
We tell ourselves that we want to eat healthier foods, start exercising, or live a healthier lifestyle, but when it comes to developing good habits that’s when our thinking becomes riddled with errors. We’re full of self-doubt, and we struggle with thoughts telling us that we’re not capable of change. The reality is that we are capable, and it’s really quite simple when it comes to adopting healthy new habits.
Change in any form can feel overwhelming at first, but when you take more manageable steps, and set specific goals, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Each day, make one small decision to lead a healthier life, and focus on incorporating new behaviors rather than stopping the old ones.
Perfect examples of this are the food choices you’re making. Are you eating fast food at your desk every day, or preparing too many processed foods for dinner? To begin with, choose a couple of days a week to eat fruit and veggies. Or, pick a healthy recipe to make for dinner. It doesn’t need to be anything gourmet. You’ll definitely feel a sense of accomplishment and before you know it, you’ll be eating healthier every day. You don’t need to completely change your diet – you’re making one choice to begin with. Why not make that choice a healthier choice? See how simple it can be?
It’s the same with exercise. Most of us struggle with getting enough exercise or getting any at all. Are you too embarrassed and insecure to exercise in front of other people who’re look much fitter and healthier? Are they one of the reasons you’ve not joined the gym?
Even if they aren’t, you probably procrastinate about signing up. Well, it’s time to stop making excuses. Most folks aren’t in shape until they become regular gym-goers. Make it an easy habit and ramp up slowly. Don’t attempt to go more than one or two days a week during these early days. You’ll not only look great, but exercise releases natural endorphins and you’ll feel great too.
So what happens when you “fall off the tracks”? It’s bound to happen. In fact, it’s quite normal but instead of being upset, dust yourself off and get back on track by reminding yourself why you’re committed to this goal. Bear in mind it might be helpful to understand the “trigger” that prompted you to go back to your old habits.
Often our judgment and decisions are riddled with cognitive biases. In other words, this is our faulty thinking that influences our decision-making. When it comes to developing good habits, our thinking gets in the way and leads us to temptation. So an easy way to overcome it – learn to ignore your own self-talk when it gives you permission to give into your sweet tooth. You’ve avoided temptation and made excellent strides toward your goal.
There’s a well-known myth that it takes 21-days to form a new habit. There’s really no scientific evidence to back this up, but it’s believable. And, who wouldn’t want to form a new healthy habit in three weeks?
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