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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Breaking The Habit

Habit. A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. We all have habits, some good, some bad. I have a habit of cleaning and scrubbing all my produce before cooking it. Good habit, right? But I also have a habit of buying too much produce at once and throwing half of it away because it goes bad. Not so good habit.

We all have bad habits that we probably wish we could break. Some, like the above, aren't necessarily detrimental to our health, but others can definitely effect our well-being. For Instance, I also have a habit of buying a healthy snack, such as my favorite Mary's Sticks and Twigs, and eating the whole bag in one sitting. Yikes.

Making changes in our lives in order to improve our health and well being usually requires breaking some of our bad habits. Easier said than done, but let's face it, we could all use some improvement. So how do we give up our bad habits and trade them in for good ones, or at least better ones?

The first step is identifying the habits that you wish to change. Find habits that continuously hinder your health, happiness or well being. Any change we wish to make in our lives starts with and requires motivation. The general desire or willingness to do something. Only you have the power change yourself, but without the desire to precipitate change, success will be difficult.

Once you are ready to take action, follow these simple tips and you will be sure to succeed!

1) Lasting change takes time. Don't try to change all your bad habits at once, you will be sure to get overwhelmed and likely fail. Start with one and focus on making that one stick.

2) Be realistic. Chose to change things that are within your control, otherwise you can set yourself for disappointment and get discouraged.

3) Take baby steps. You may have more success by upgrading your bad habit to a less evil one first and then breaking it all together, rather than going cold turkey from the start.

4) Set goals. Make a list of the necessary steps to achieve your goal, and check them off as you reach them.

5) Stay motivated. Write yourself daily reminders and stick them on your mirror, refrigerator or some place you will constantly see them, especially in places where the bad habit is bound to occur.

6) Keep track of your progress. Keeping a journal each day can help you identify when and why you are having difficulty versus success. Take a few minutes each morning to write down your intentions for the day, and few minutes each evening to reflect on how you did.

7) Ask for help. We can't always do everything on our own. Don't be afraid to use your resources and ask for help!

8) Be grateful. Be aware of the others that have helped you reach your goals and express your gratitude.

9) Start today! Why put off til tomorrow, what you can do today. Procrastination will hinder your motivation and allows the opportunity for distraction.

So what are you waiting for? What bad habit will you start breaking today?

Keep it Fresh!

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