Bad habits. How these love to creep in!
It’s important to make the distinction between ‘life happens / occasional indulgence’ and bad habit.
It’s only a problem once it becomes a habit.
The definition of ‘habit’ is –
1. An action done on a regular basis.
2. An action performed repeatedly and automatically, usually without awareness.
For example, enjoying take-away once per week is entirely different to getting it 3-4 nights per week and having the leftovers for lunch. Having an afternoon of crackers, dips and wine once a week with friends is not the same as having this for dinner each night.
Eating on the run occasionally won’t do too much damage, but eating mindlessly, quickly and without chewing for every meal is a bad habit.
Working late on occasion can be necessary. Working from 7:00am to 10:00pm each day is a bad habit. Skipping exercise on occasion due to other priorities is something that can happen, but skipping exercise for weeks is a bad habit.
Helping others out is a nice thing to do. Consistently saying yes to things that devalue your worth or make you uncomfortable is a bad habit.
I think you see my point 😉
So how do things go from sometimes to habit?
Without you noticing. It’s like a tiger stalking its prey, inching closer and closer and suddenly the tiger has its prey in its mouth without the prey even realizing there was danger. Before you know it, you’re in the grip of a bad habit.
The first thing is to recognize that it’s happened. To recognize that treat foods have become every day, that you’re disrespecting your boundaries too often, that your exercise regime has become non-existent.
For me, I never buy packaged ‘snack’ type foods EVER. I make my own hummus and have it with cut up veges, because I don’t like all the preservatives in dip. But lately I started buying chips and dip. It was supposed to be a ‘one-off’ treat. But then it became weekly. And then it even became twice weekly. Then I also started buying sorbet weekly (sugar overload anyone!). See the pattern?
Once you’ve caught the pattern, you obviously need to change the habit. But this is can be a little more difficult than it sounds. Sometimes you can just snap yourself out of it, but when you’ve got sugar cravings or low self-worth to deal with, it’s a bit harder.
You’ve fallen into this habit in the first place because of your internal belief systems about yourself and about what you are ‘worth’.
If you place work over your health, you’re saying that your job is more important than you. If you can’t stop eating even though you desperately want to, there’s an emotional void that the food is filling (or maybe you don’t feel worthy of being healthy). If you continually say yes to things that make you feel resentful, you’re sending a message of how you want to be treated.
Firstly, you need to decide the standard you’re going to accept. Are you going to accept eating chips and dip on the couch each day, skipping exercise and working yourself into the ground? Or is that unacceptable? What would you like to do instead?
Then make a commitment to doing just one thing differently for the next 21 days. Because this is how you develop new habits.
Maybe it’s daily movement or eating a nourishing breakfast each day (by the way, if you do this for 21 days, you’ll feel 200% better in your body and mind just by doing that alone).
Most importantly, remember that you are worthy of good health, of being treated with respect (by yourself and others) and happiness.
Don’t ever downgrade your importance.