Considerations to make when you need to get out of a FUNK: Anatomy of a habitJun 02, 2016
Seriously, habits are so powerful. Whether we’ve put much thought into it or not, I bet there are so many habits we want to develop. Habits can make or break your days.
For example, have you ever found yourself in the middle of a project that shouldn’t take long, but ends up sucking away all your spare time and energy for days? It can get you into a real funk. That was my story this week. I had a job contracted to help develop some training for foodservice directors. Although I enjoy the work, the mounting requests kept me burning the candle from both ends, inevitably compromising some habits I find vital to my happiness. I’m talking a little more than brushing teeth, but everything suffered.
Let’s face it. Habits can be the source of happiness, or the source of self-destruct mode.
But it got me thinking about a podcast I listened to on developing habits. Did you know you can develop habits much faster than the 21 days initially thought? Research says if you are intentional about just these few things, you can actually create a new habit in seven days.
1. Environment: It’s easy for me to apply this one to exercise. If the space in which I’m going to work out is full of my kids’ toys, the distraction of putting these things away before I push play can be sabotage to my self care. Same for a haphazard kitchen. If I wake up to a sink full of dishes, the day seems insurmountable. I can never get ahead. For years, when I felt stressed (and sometimes still), the dark chocolate in my freezer environment was too handy to pass by. It was mindless when my mind felt under duress. What has to happen in your environment to welcome the habits you want to implement? Can your environment somehow be changed to facilitate what you want to achieve?
2. Trigger: This is what prompts that feeling of instant gratification. The podcast mentioned that when people associate exercise with weight loss, they don’t want to do it. They have to associate it with the incredible feeling of endorphin rush immediately post-work out. That is the instant gratification. So when I felt stressed or hormonal, it triggered me to emotional eating. Generally, if I was standing in the kitchen, my environment supported reaching into the freezer for chocolate. What if I went outside, took a few deep breaths and refocused? Would I have the same feeling of gratification? The same release of tension? Probably. I would just need to internalize that when I feel that trigger, how can I achieve instant gratification differently?
3. Action: How can I rewire that mindless thought into a more positive mindless action (going outside instead of reaching into the freezer)? When we routinely catch ourselves at that trigger point to direct ourselves to the action/solution we’ve chosen for ourselves (like going outside to refocus), it eventually becomes mindless behavior---a new habit is born.
If a habit is negative, you want to replace the negative in a way that still gives gratification. The environment might have to change. While it requires a little more thought on the front end, I think most of us could agree that habits make life easier. They require you to process fewer thoughts and give you a mental break. And Lord knows we can always use one of those in this crazy world! This week I’m going to go live here to talk about a few habits that have made my days so much better. I hope you can join me live or for the replay. I would love to connect with you!
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