Tips to Changing Habits
By Unite Fitness Retreat Nutritionist, Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN
Ever feel like that old school art project where you attach a piece of paper to a spinner and drop bright colors of paint? As the paper spins, paint smears and blends. Each picture is new and different and fun. Or is it a mess?
Sometimes life feels just like that spinning piece of paper just waiting for something to fall out of the sky and either paint a picture or make a mess. What is the difference between the two scenarios?
There are several factors that influence our perception. If we believe or expect a situation to be impossible to navigate, there is only one answer…it will be rotten.
Sometimes it takes the creating new habits to retrain your mind and change your perception of a given situation.
With any new habit, there are a few steps to look at. This example has food being the culprit falling from the sky that can either paint a beautiful picture or smear into a mess. Think through these four steps and identify something you want to improve.
- Create your new identity. ‘I don’t drink sugar sweetened beverages.’ Your new food identity. Create your NEW ROLE. It may look a little something like, ‘I only drink one soda a day not 4’ or ‘I don’t drink soda, I swapped to sparkling water’.
- Be aware of your cravings. Why are you doing it?? Are you feeling upset, stressed, angry, happy or bored? Slowing down to IDENTIFY what is behind the cravings is a critical step in changing habits.
- Identify the reason. Ok, I’m stressed out of my mind. Consider a different activity you can do to deal with that moment without food. Call a friend. Go for a walk. Stop what you are doing and take 10 minutes to mediate.
- Journaling in that moment to purge your feelings and emotion with a keyboard or good old-fashioned pen and paper are suggestions that will help you understand what triggers you into a negative behavior. It may not solve the problem of why you are stressed but it will help dial down the situation so that food is not used to try to solve the problem.
- Identify rules for yourself and stick with them by minimizing willpower. When you minimize willpower, it simplifies your decisions. For instance, today I replace my soda with water, I drink water, I don’t drink soda (which is very different from I can’t drink soda). Using “don’t” results in much stronger habit building.
Here’s to looking at painting an amazing picture today!