How To Break Bad Habits

Being an amateur first

It is pain that usually creates massive change in people.

Getting to that point of pain where your dissatisfaction with the status quo suddenly out weighs any pain that you perceived was going to be involved with making a change.

The challenge with this is that our emotions are usually very high at this point and our logic is usually very low.

This leads to massive action, in absolutely every direction.  We jump on line and get the latest diet plan, we book in with the gym, we throw out all the junk food in the house, we set our alarm an hour earlier so that we can workout.

We suddenly go charging at life like a pro athlete.

But a pro athlete has the habits of a pro athlete, because they love being a pro athlete.  They enjoy it, their habits have been created through years of positive emotions.

Let’s say you stayed up late last night to prep the weeks meals and this morning got up an hour early and went to the gym.  You don’t like mornings but it’s hard and painful so you figure it must be good for you. 

You get home and have the protein shake that you don’t really like and you start your day.

Later there is a drama at work and for a moment you are pushed to your emotional limits.  Emotions go up and logic goes down, you think to yourself.

“You know what, work is a nightmare today and I’ve worked bloody hard at the gym. Screw it, I’m getting a treat!”

Then Wednesday, another drama in your life.

“I’m going home and having a wine tonight, I deserve it.”

Thursday morning.

“I’ve been to the gym 3 days already this week.  I don’t want to over do it, I’ll sleep in today.”

Before you know it it’s been 3 weeks, 4 extra kilograms and 6 bottles of red since you’ve been to the gym.

What went wrong?

Replacing the pain of being unhappy about how you look with more pain of doing things we hate can lead a person into a disproportionate perspective of the value of those positive actions.

They rate the value of the action by how hard it was to do and not what benefit it had for their health.

So for every good thing they do they end up doing more bad things until they are so far off track they end up where they started.

What is the solution?

Don’t be a pro athlete.

Go to the gym once this week for a 30min session.  Have a good breakfast this Monday Morning.

Leave the rest of the week to do what you want.

Then when you feel you can handle it go to the gym 2 times in a week and have a good breakfast Mondays and Thursdays.

Make it easy and keep the pressure off.

Over a very short period of time you will find that you will start thinking about your gym sessions and meals in a positive way.  You will start to think “Ah, I’ll have some salad with this” or “I might pop into the gym this Saturday as well”.

You are more likely to under value your good actions because they don’t seem as hard and therefore less likely to let yourself over compensate by engaging in negative behaviours.

Give it a try this week.

One gym session and one good meal.

Play it smart, not hard.