Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Trust us, we get it; watching what you eat, exercising regularly, plus the thought of
dishing out the extra cash for fresh produce can set you off into a sweat-induced panic.
The greatest fear is, what if I do all of this and end up reverting to my old ways? The
good news is that this article is devoted to that topic. Here, we will explain what is
fundamentally necessary to stick to your goals and live the way you dream.
Habits are part of human nature and become embedded into our brains as a time
saving mechanism. First, we form habits; then habits form us. Stop and think about it,
routine activities do not actually get much consideration, right? Whether driving to work,
doing laundry, or walking the dog, you barely remember the process or even performing
the activity. We do not have recall because our brains our programmed through
repetition. It has been engaging on "auto pilot", saving itself quite a bit of computing
power. Even though this integrated time saving technique sounds like it would work
wonders, we know that not all habits are beneficial. It also takes time and persistence to
alter them. A great example of this is how habits streamline our decision making
process for activities such as eating lunch in your company cafeteria. Monday through
Friday, you might grab a burger, chips, candy bar, and soda with only slight variation.
These decisions take little to no thought at all. Your brain is patting itself on the back
and saying "job well done". Just like cigarettes or alcohol, food can become just as
much a habit as anything else. Practices of bad habits keep people in a downward
spiral of unfavorable choices, day in and day out. So, what is the result of changing
these bad habits you ask? The answer to this question will change your life!
If you want to start eating better, going to the gym more regularly or put down the bottle,
it all starts with a good perspective. What kind of conversations do you have with
yourself when you fail to reach your goals? Do you catch yourself saying things like
"next time", "maybe I'll always be like this", or "it's their fault not mine"? If so, it will be
nearly impossible to reach your goal of being your “best you”. As your mind can
ultimately be your worst enemy, you must override the thoughts of justifying your poor
choices and stop the bad habits in their tracks. The real questions you should ask
yourself are; “am I worth it”, "why couldn't I do this", and "why haven't I started already"?
These questions pose a different perspective entirely. Having said that, the most difficult
part of kicking these bad habits is doing it consistently. How many people do you know
that eat healthy home cooked meals for an entire week, only to be followed by a week
of fast food binging? This happens because they did not address the real issue. They
did not focus on getting their mind right and changing their perspective. I equate this
scenario to removing weeds in a garden. There are a couple of different ways to tackle
this task; the first option is to simply rip the weed out of the garden and consider it done.
Unfortunately, you will have to pull it again by the end of the week. The second and
most efficient way is to spray the weed with a weed killer, addressing the core problem
at its roots...literally. As you can see, this analogy applies to most of the choices we
make in life. We can just "get by" through performing our daily routines, controlled
mostly by our brain to save time and effort, or we can hit override and do things
sustainably that will alter our thinking for the rest of our lives. You have to make the
conscious decision of wanting to make positive changes that will last a lifetime, not just
One common way we form bad eating habits is diverting stressful thoughts by retreating
to instant gratification. Being overweight, depressed, or even losing a loved one can
have a snowball effect on eating habits very quickly. Think about how hard it is for many
to change these habits, when eating might be the best parts of their day. Again, I go
back to your prospective. You have to ask yourself if you are worth changing your life to
live the way you know you deserve to. You can obtain the short-term pleasure that
never lasts, or go for happiness that lasts a lifetime. We all deserve to be healthy and
should strive to achieve it.
There are many reasons people are falling short of kicking bad habits. To reverse them
though, requires more than a three-week diet, shopping at Whole foods, or by simply
joining a yoga class. Ultimately, to change your habits, you must change the way you
think. You must understand that every challenge you face is worth it to better the rest of
your life. You must know that something great is inside and you have to give it the
opportunity to be unleashed. When you understand your worth, you realize you are no
longer able deny yourself from being your “best self”. Rewire your brain for greatness.
Kicking bad habits starts with your perspective: one without excuses, and embraced
with a positive attitude. You must decide you want to change and dedicate yourself to
the goal. Remember, it only takes three repetitions of doing something consistently to
create a habit. Start small, decide to be a winner, you will see yourself change right
before your very eyes.