Kick a Habit and Be Rut Free

Welcome to the weekend everyone!  What a great time of the year to consider a clean up, clean out and clear path to a healthy and active Summer!  Often many of my patients choose this time of the year to start changing habits in preparation for a more vital and energetic self and others to help them cope better during the pressures of Christmas holidays.  Either way, much of this change of habit relies on strategy and focus as well as planning ahead.  If you want to change a habit or get unstuck from your rut - this piece is for you!

When we think of a habit that relates to health, what usually springs to mind is the habit of smoking due to its addictive nature and relative risk to longevity and quality of life.  The principles in this piece can be applied to this but also other habitual practices that prevent you from balancing your health in favour of good eating, exercise and rest patterns. Be it drinking alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs or working to long - if you want to a brighter season that lasts for years, it pays to put the following measures in place.

1.  Be clear with yourself about the habit you are aiming to change.  Don't be wishy washy - be firm that this is what you are focusing on.

2.  Change one habit at a time, too much change can lead to an implosion of the program, and a failure to believe you can achieve this dream.

3.  Determine a list of helpful people in either their professional fields or reliable friends who you know will and can help you without judgement.

4.  List down the times, days, people, events, practices or 'flags' that triggered you to start the habit up in the first place. For example, if every time you feel angry or upset about something you then eat (and your goal is to stop emotional eating) - note that down as a trigger.

5.  Create a list of competing habits for example - if you are trying to change a coffee habit - list as many things you can do to compete with the triggers to your coffee drinking.  For example - with coffee you could compete that habit with drinking another healthier fluid or doing some brief movement to spark your circulation up again.

6.  Set a start date and a finishing date of no less than 3 weeks away before ceasing the intensified approach to your habit and starting on another.

7.  Prepare a list of rewards you can 'earn' for yourself when you reach a level of satisfaction that you are free (the very feeling of being freed is a sensational reward, but it is always a bonus when you can say thanks to yourself for work well done!). The rules of this point is that no reward is to be addictive or have a link to a habit you are aiming to kick down the track.

8.  Commit to spending no time at all in giving yourself a hard time or judging your character if you don't get it right straight away. Keep on working on it - and if you are struggling, call your 'team' of reliables to help you out.

9.  Where needed, support your body with hormone changing herbs and nutrients, gut supportive probiotics (that also influence brain health) and allow for rest time if you are feeling challenged.

Remember - the formation and therefore change of habit is a powerful process.  The intensity of the 'withdrawal' process is often equal to the intensity of the sense of success you feel about yourself when you kick the habit along. Templates for the Triggers, Competing Habits and Rewards List are available, please contact me for further information.

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