When you stumble- and we all do when it comes to eating- often, we find the next declaration out of our mouth is, “I may as well eat the rest of the cake since I already had one piece”. In Jeremy Dean’s book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, he helps us to face the fact that we are not perfect in our quest to build a habit. We will miss a moment, miss a day, or more. It’s a given. What you need to know is what to do when that happens. Have a plan for when the plan breaks down.
When the plan fails, take these steps.
1. Identify the triggers. Find the moment or rewind your day until you can visualize the cross roads. The place in your life where you could have gone one way or the other. When we are in the moment it is hard to see this crossroad, but often playing our day back in your mind like you would rewind a video to see the good parts can help. It’s defining this moment that will help you most. The more specific you can make it the better. So think in terms of a) time, b) location, c) emotional state, d) other people around, e) the circumstance. So it might look like this: Right before I chose to go through the drive thru and order 4 donuts and coffee for myself, I was in a tense meeting at work that didn’t go well, I yelled at my co-worker for the silliest thing, I didn’t sleep well last night, and I forgot my gym clothes. The driver that cut me off right before I left the parking lot was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just had to have a donut (or three).
2. Identify the old habit. Be specific about what you are trying to stop. Again, think of all the details about this old habit. For instance, I want to stop relying on donuts when I feel upset and stressed in the car while driving alone.
3. Identify the new habit. Know exactly what you want to do, but create a goal that will take less than 60 seconds to accomplish. That sounds too simple but it isn’t easy. For myself, that would be using my 60 seconds to drive past the donut store. Think about it, it sounds simple but it isn’t easy.
It’s hard to change your behavior. It takes courage to have to do things differently and resilience to keep at it.
To your best health,