Publisher - March 2023
“If you’re going to change a habit,
you must be the treatment.”
—Dr. Wayne Dyer
We have all heard the definition of insanity— doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That may well be true, but doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result is a habit, and habits keep us moving in the same direction.
One of my favorite quotes that I live by is “Change your attitude, change your world.” However, this month’s theme is about healthy habits, not attitude, so when I stopped to deeply think about habits—both good and bad—I realized my favorite quote works just as well when adapted to “Change your habits, change your world!”
Every choice we make not only defines our path in life, but also dictates our daily behavior. Some choices we naturally make the same over and over again; these are our habits. So when you set out to change a habit, you must expect some aspect of your life to change as well. I find that to be great news!
You will be amazed and inspired by our healthy habits section, where we feature four women who have adopted healthy habits that enhance their lives for the better. But, before we get to the healthy habits, let’s take a verbal stroll regarding bad habits.
Let’s not talk about why we have bad habits, how we developed them, or why they are not that bad. None of that matters, because the fact of the matter is we all have bad habits, and we need to start right where we are to begin to break them. But first, lets get clear about what keeps us rooted in our bad habits:
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses:
It’s natural for us to blame some external thing or being for our bad habits. Here are a few examples: “My kids oversleep every morning, which makes me late to work almost everyday.”; “I knew I shouldn’t spend the money, but it was on sale, and I saved nearly $50.”; “I don’t have time to cook at night with the children’s sports schedules.” Fact is, when a new behavior becomes important enough, you will stop making excuses and incorporate it into your life. For instance, if your boss puts her foot down and informs you if you’re late again, you’re fired. You will miraculously make sure your children no longer oversleep. Excuses keep us in old patterns and habits. Get conscious about your excuses. You get tired of hearing other’s excuses, if you become keenly aware of your own, you will get tired of them, too. When you’re sick of your excuses, new habits have a chance to grow!
How many times have you caught yourself justifying something absolutely ridiculous. The crazy part is we believe our justifications. However, justifications are lies. That may sound harsh, but when you justify something that is unhealthy, like staying in an abusive situation or eating cake every day when you are diabetic, you are telling yourself big, fat lies. Again, get in touch with yourself, perhaps through journaling or meditation, and clarity will begin to overtake justifications. You know what you want and need, and it’s waiting for you right on the other side of all your justifications.
Bad habits are grounded in rewards, and that’s why habits are so hard to break. These rewards may not be what’s good for you, but nonetheless, they are rewards. For instance, take that diabetic that eats cake ever yday. Her life may be filled with stress, which can be a trigger to reach for sweets, which has always been her go-to when upset ever since she was young. In eating the cake, her reward comes as reduced stress and feeling safe. However, this “reward” is actually killing her body and health. She must work hard to find new rewards that can quell stress, make her feel safe and calm, and help her instead of harm her.
I am no expert, but I have had to break some habits over the years. Here are my tips that I hope you will find helpful:
Take Baby Steps:
Set micro goals—that means tiny, achievable, tender. Trying to build a new habit should not make you feel bad in any way. If you start to feel like a failure, you’re working in leaps and bounds, not baby steps. You’re not being realistic. You want your new habit for the long-haul. You worked long and hard to indoctrinate your bad habits into your life, it’s going to take some time to let them go. Know this without any doubt from the very beginning, and work with yourself as if you’re a sweet little infant, after all, you are learning new steps.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to become aware of your thoughts, words, actions, and habits. Get to know yourself intimately! Know what you need, what you want, and also how you are sabotaging yourself. Get real! Start having conversations with yourself in your mind. Tell yourself what you want to do and how important it is to you. Quit lying to yourself. Call out BS when that’s what your mind serves up to you! You don’t have to get angry or be ugly to yourself, just become aware of your well-being and protect it.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up:
Make forming new habits healing, fun and nurturing. Do not—I repeat, Do Not—beat yourself up for not being on the “band wagon” immediately. Don’t ever tell yourself (or others) things like “I fell off the wagon, I blew it, I can’t do this, I’ll never change.” These are all lies. Yes, you may have eaten a cookie, but that doesn’t mean you blew it. It simply means you ate a cookie. Have a gentle perspective with yourself, and you will succeed in time.
I’m ready, and I hope you are too. Let’s go after some new healthy habits! We all deserve to live our best lives, and there’s no better way to start than by choosing to break a bad habit and move in a positive direction. I can’t wait for you to read the rest of this month’s issue. I hope you love it and get inspired about YOU!