Thursday, May 3, 2012

Creature of Habit

My "Self-Loathing No More!" project is still in full swing.  I'm not gonna lie... it hasn't been easy.  I feel like my intentions are in the right place but I know full well that intentions alone won't make any impactful changes that I am seeking.  Do you remember my plan?
  1. Start a food journal - Big fat, FAIL.  I don't know why I thought this would work for me.  I've never been good with this and I have tried before. 
  2. Move my body - I have been walking my little heart out when I can.  I average 40 minutes or more around the neighborhood but I can only get in 20-30 minutes on lunch breaks at work.  I'm probably only walking about 3-4 days a week and I'm sure I'm not burning enough calories to start losing weight.
  3. I will not depend on my husband to hold my hand - I'm doing good on this one.  I really want to have the power to make changes on my own and not rely on someone to carry me through.  This is very important to me for some reason...
  4. Learn how to handle my stress better - I saw a quote somewhere that "stress is a choice."  That really resonated with me and I am trying to break some of my cycles in this regard.
  5. Be kind to myself - Easier said than done.  Like stress, my self-talk is very conditioned within my psyche.  I need to break that habit as well.
I came to the realization that everything I want to change in my plan above are all habits that I am trying to break (with the exception of the whole food journal thing).  I have pin-pointed 4 major things that I want to change about myself and I am attempting to change them all at the same time!  Am I setting myself up for success or am I going to find myself in my usual rut because it is familiar and safe?  Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

I'm not just on a mission to get healthy and lose weight, although that is the ultimate goal, I am truly attempting to change my behavior in order to break some "bad" habits.

noun - an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

I am attempting to change some big things about myself that have become second nature to me.  They have become involuntary.  I had a wonderful session with my therapist this week.  She really helped me to define what it is I am trying to accomplish here.  Just so you know a little bit more about me, I am the type of person that will give and bend and comply with everyone around without ever considering how it is effecting me.  I put others first and often times at a detriment to my well being.  I live my life constantly tense, stressed, on edge and always trying to control situations so that I can cater to the people around me.  I don't say what's on my mind, I say what I think you want to be on my mind.  I'm not always my authentic self, I am a tailored version of myself. 

It is time to break my habits.  So, how will I do this???  My therapist explained that there are three parts to a habit: 1) the cue 2) the behavior 3) the reward.  My goal is to recognize the cues so that I can alter my behavior.  For example: I've had a busy and challenging day at work and I can feel the stress setting in - that is my cue. The old behavior would be to eat something because I was stressed out.  Because I was reacting emotionally to my stress the things I would eat were most likely NOT a healthy snack.  I'd swipe a cookie that we leave out for our clients, for example. 

What I hope to do is recognize that the components of my day have left me feeling stressed so maybe I should step outside for a few minutes to clear my head while at the office or exercise after work to sweat out the stress.  The reward will be that I am no longer feeling tense and that I just did something positive for myself.  The rewards don't have to be something tangible they can simply be a feeling of contentment, pride and accomplishment.  That sounds like a good reward to me! 

By breaking my habits and being in tune with my cues and my behaviors I will be one step closer to being the best me that I can be!

Do you have any behavioral habits that you would like to break?  Have you had success overcoming a habit that was negative for you? 

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