A new year. So new year resolutions.
Here we go again – start going to the gym, one year no alcohol, lose ten pounds, run three times a week, 30-day plank challenge, etc.
It’s now two weeks into January. Are you still kicking ass? Or enthusiasm already waning？
Let’s take building healthier habits such as cutting chemical-packed junk food, for example.
Maybe you want to drop a few pounds, or perhaps there are health concerns. Whatever the reason, when you focus on the act of not eating that bag of chips or a couple of doughnuts and try to make it happen with blunt force willpower only, it’s tough to go the distance.
Willpower is like a muscle. It gets fatigued, and you will eventually cave in. That’s why after that long, brain-draining meeting in the afternoon, you often hit the office pantry with a vengeance.
Sometimes it’s helpful to connect with your feelings a bit by asking yourself questions. Let your logical side have a chat with your compulsive side:
-What is triggering my craving?
-What do I think this bag of chips is doing for me?
-Is there another way for me to achieve the same result?
-If I eat this bag of chips, how will I feel afterward?
-Will eating this help me relax or make me happier?
-Are any of the perceived benefits true?
-What is holding me back from saying no to junk food?
At your moment of weakness, a simple timeout before you give in to bad habits allows YOU to talk YOU out of it.
Additionally, you should give your logical side more ammunition. Learn about the science behind your “vice”. Why you’re addicted to candy? Why you can’t stop at just one drink? Why it’s so hard to stop binge watching? Here are a couple of super useful books if you’re thinking about redefining your relationships with alcohol and sugar. The more you know, the easier it is to make the right choice.
This Naked Mind offers a new, positive solution. Here, Annie Grace clearly presents the psychological and neurological components of alcohol use based on the latest science, and reveals the cultural, social, and industry factors that support alcohol dependence in all of us.
David Gillespie was 6 stone overweight, lethargic and desperate to lose weight fast, but he’d failed every diet out there. Until he cut out sugar. Then he immediately started to lose weight – and kept it off. Now slim and with new reserves of energy, David set out to investigate the connection between sugar, our soaring obesity rates and some of the more worrying diseases of the twenty-first century.
However, reading and learning are just the beginning of the battle. You have to practice what you know is right. A healthy habit isn’t built in one day. Here’s how I did it.
I started by first doing just one thing: A cup of warm lemon water in the morning. Years ago, I came across an article about lemon’s wonderful benefits. And how drinking warm lemon water on an empty stomach properly primes the body for the day. It’s cleansing, it’s alkali, and it provides many nutrients.
“That doesn’t sound too complicated. Let’s try it,” I decided.
After two weeks, drinking lemon water became something that I do, a part of my morning ritual. Sometimes I couldn’t make the daily beverage because I forgot to buy lemons or had to rush out the door. I didn’t stress out about it, though. I just made sure I picked it back up the next day. I then read another article about the benefits of nuts. So I bought a big bag of almonds and ate a handful daily. Another super easy thing to do. Over the years, I picked up more healthy habits, always one at a time. Build momentum because progress is “addictive.” When something works, it makes you want to do that thing even more.
Here’s another tip. Have healthier and delicious options at the ready when just willpower won’t do it. Here are some of my go-tos:
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut milk
- Dried fruit (yes it’s packed with sugar, but still much healthier than that candy bar singing siren songs)
- Energy and protein bars (some are healthier than others, so choose wisely)