Well here we are, almost two weeks into January, and I have to keep reminding myself that as this year is the year I want to make ‘it’ happen, I’d better start doing something differently, else nothing will change!
I wondered if there are others out there, who like me, have realised that even though we’re nearly three weeks after christmas, and two weeks after the new positive life style was meant to have kicked in, nothing has actually changed – yet!Now this could be because the small changes I’m making will take time to show results. Or it could mean that whilst I think I’m making changes, actually I’m not!!
So I think this is a good time to reaffirm my good intentions for a new healthy lifestyle, which means walking more in the open air, cutting down portion sizes, saying ‘NO’ and meaning it, when chocolates left from Xmas start calling out to me to eat them. And not listening to the voice in my head that tells me that if I drink the three bottles of wine in the cupboard, I won’t be tempted by them anymore!
It’s strange, and rather annoying how fickle we can be when it comes to self-discipline isn’t it? I mean if we really want something you’d think we would make a real effort to get it wouldn’t you? However, if getting this thing, whatever it is, means giving up something that brings us some form of comfort, then it’s not uncommon that our comforter will win the decisive battle.
So whilst we may yearn to be slimmer and healthier, or be more adept at managing our negative habits, our impulsive behaviour, if not controlled, will always take us back to that place we’re trying to escape from!
Now if you do this thing i.e. forget previous good intentions for instant gratification, then beating yourself up won’t help you feel any better. Nor will placating yourself, by telling yourself ‘You deserve it, go on have it, do it!’. As the reality is you are not a bad person for falling off the wagon habit, nor are you stupid because you know you’re doing something you don’t really want to be doing!
I know it’s obvious, but the reality is, habits are habit-forming! And the longer we’ve had the habit, the more we’ve used it to console our emotions, the harder it will be to change! So I guess the answer is, when we’re trying to change our habits, we should also be looking at new tactics for dealing with our emotions. Otherwise they will drive us back to past negative coping strategies won’t they!
When we try to change old habits, we set up an internal conflict situation which ensures our anxiety finds a way of becoming stronger. Often making us feel weaker because we don’t feel as good as we think we should! And even though mentally, we know we’re making progress forward by being strong and resolved, our emotional prompts fool us into thinking ‘Just once more’ is okay, when it’s not. As immediately we succumb to the habitual pressure, it’s the first step back to the habit we’re trying to escape from!
However, when dealing with ego-issues, I’ve found that if I give ‘IT’ a shape or personality that is separate from my fear of failure traits, then I’m more able to stand up and challenge it.
Let’s say you have a bad habit you want to change. Hold that habit in your mind, then intuitively ask to see this habit presented in a physical form. I’m trying to lose weight, and when I asked to see my weight problem in physical form, I got an image of a large fruit cake. When I asked what I need to do to stop eating the cake I suddenly saw loads of flies and maggots crawling over it. My mind had automatically created an aversion technique that I could use, when I was tempted to overeat. So now all I’ve got to do, in theory, is bring the image of the maggot ridden cake into my mind whenever I feel tempted by other food!
If your habit is presented in the image of a being of some sort, then you could give it a name that you dislike. Then when you are tempted to break your habit you could recall the shape and name, and just tell it ‘Go away ??? I don’t need you any more!’, remembering your will is stronger than its.
So, remembering how quickly time flies, today just might be the day you need to remember, to remember to do things differently in the future, and break the hold of the habits of the past!
Good luck everyone!