Archive for lifestyle choices
Oftentimes, something happens to cause us to take stock in ourselves. We may evaluate our appearance, what we eat, how we spend our time, how we spend our money. This is the practice of “taking stock”; and it can often fuel us to think about and perhaps plan how we will make the changes we feel we need to make. Perhaps this change will be as simple as changing our wardrobe style or makeup; or it can be as major as changing a job or even a partner! What prompts this change often entails realizing our routines are hindering us from stretching ourselves to facilitating change.
Changes often fail due to the process of deciding and implementing the change. We often make too many changes that overwhelm us; or we don’t plan for stressful or busy times. Many people relate to me their good intentions and even successes in making changes only to desert these new habits when they get too busy. How many times have you started on a diet, or begun an exercise program and actually continued with it for many months. Then, work gets hectic or a loved one becomes ill and all new habits are forgotten.
A friend of mine recently was successful with improving her health in a major fashion by quitting smoking. She had struggled with this for many years, decades even. She had tried several different modalities for cigarette cessation, none of which were successful. She then found out her mother had developed lung cancer, most likely due to her own cigarette habit. This realization was devastating and caused my friend to finally find the fortitude to face her habit and conquer it for over 2 years. Then, inexplicably she started smoking again. She can not even say why she began again, but I think it is because she became overwhelmed with work and family obligations. She had relied on her will power to remain off cigarettes, her will power finally failed as it does for most people. She had not developed a plan for stressful times, a ritual to help her not think about what she does when she is stressed.
We all need our rituals to help us through the busy and stressful times of our lives, so that we do not have to think about our choices-they are automatic. We also need to develop a routine for when faced with a choice we know will be difficult to refuse.
My weakness are sweets and desserts.
When I am offered something within this category, I always ask myself-”Is this worth the calories, and will it be available at some other time if I still really want it?” I can usually avoid the cookies that appear at work, or the pastries at the market when I am shopping by using this ritual. I will admit that I indulge in an almond croissant from a french bakery in NYC whenever I am there, as I have not yet found as delicious a croissant where I live. Luckily for my waist line I am not in NYC very often!
Develop your rituals and habits to help you through difficult times when decisions about life style habits seen too overwhelming for you to make. Practice these rituals so that they are ingrained and automatic. Engage your mind in this exercise so that you are focused on making the changes you want, and your rituals feel comfortable to you. Share your rituals with us by commenting and writing in, this helps us all develop good habits!