Breaking habits is hard.
But often it’s harder than it needs to be.
Discipline and Boredom
Let’s say you give in a binge on crisps and chocolate at 8pm on a Friday night, how effective do you think that sitting in silence is going to be in overcoming your habit?
You’re going to sit there and think about food that you are not eating.
You’re either going to be miserable and successful or more likely you’re going to give in and eat the food and then be miserable afterwards because you feel like you failed yourself.
The truth is that you just set yourself up to fail without knowing it.
An Easier Way
Ever noticed how someone joins a running club and then changes pretty much every other unhealthy aspect of their life? Or joins a good gym and then they seem to get fit really quickly?
They didn’t stop doing something. They started doing something.
The key is to replace that bad habit with a good one. Are there any exercise classes or running groups in your local area? How about going out for a good quality meal with some friends?
What you’ll quickly find is that in doing something, your mind doesn’t go towards chocolate and crisps, it goes towards the activity and the people you are with. If you do this every week, your bad habit is as good as gone.
If you want to gain weight, you might have the opposite problem. You know you should slow down to eat from time to time so that you can gain some weight but you’re always occupied because it’s a habit.
If you sit down and play computer games for hours at a time (not judging, a lot of my teenage years were spent in front of a PS2 wasting fools :P), you still need to eat. In this case, you need to hit the gym first, then make sure that you have food available to eat throughout your gaming marathon. Get some high-calorie, high-protein foods BEFORE you sit down to play. Otherwise, you just won’t eat as much as you should. A subtle change that will make a big difference.
If you want to lose fat and you spend time sitting around with your family watching Coronation Street or Casualty or whatever it is that people watch during the evening, you could try going for a walk as a family or using the Xbox or Nintendo Wii to play activity-based games together.
This might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world to some people but you’re not going to remember the evenings watching soaps when you’re old. If you change soaps for a walk or game night with the family, you’ll be doing something small, but lasting for the whole family.
Don’t Break Bad Habits, Replace Them
Some of these might resonate with you, some of them won’t but the big take away from this is to replace your habits, don’t try to eliminate them and replace them with nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum. Replace it with something good or you’ll replace it with your old habit again.
Here are some bad habits that you might have and some replacements. Why not break a few bad habits and build some good ones?
Do you buy food on the run? Why don’t you try spending on hour per week on food preparation?
In one hour you can make up enough food to take care of any situations that might come up. I’d suggest you make a number of meals and snacks. You can then refrigerate or freeze them.
Do you go to your kitchen frequently to get snacks in the evening? When you go to the kitchen, make a cup of tea and tell yourself you’ll get a snack next time you come through if you’re still hungry.
Haha. but don’t.
Just rinse and repeat.
This is the cheat code to mastering your habits, so remember it.
You can’t replace something with nothing.
Until next time,