A Study Of Habits-Part 3

How To Get Everything You Want In Life…A Study Of Habits. (Part 3 of 4)

Welcome to Part 3 of our 4 part study of habits. Today we will spin the OLD counterproductive habits into shiny NEW productive habits.

In Part 1 you learned a few ways habits can derail us from living the way we know is best for us.  You listed out your counterproductive eating habits in a stream of consciousness exercise.  You identified points of chaos when it comes to making choices that work for you.

In Part 2 you pared down the list to 5 you felt held you back the most.  You even rated yourself as your body’s CEO…how’d you fare?  Did you get a “talkin’ to”? 

I needed one before I put on my Big Girl panties and got real with myself.  Your Part 2 exercise was to take your top 5 counterproductive eating habits and list the negative consequences for each.

Part 3 is the fun part. It is now that we get to work turning counterproductive habits into NEW productive habits along with creating an action plan around each one.

The following is an approach I use.

  1. List the Counterproductive Eating Habit that you wish to change.
  2. List the Negative Consequences.
  3. Develop a NEW Productive Eating Habit.  Write it in first-person language and in present tense.
  4. List some of the most beneficial points of adopting this new habit.
  5. List an action plan you can (and will) follow.
  6. Set a schedule for having all the moving parts in place to make the change.
  7. Repeat the actions to make the New Productive Eating Habit one you own.

I recommend choosing one habit (maybe two) on which to focus at a time.  You may know from experience that should you attempt to change everything at once, you are potentially setting yourself up to fail.

Let’s break down the process for our examples from Part 2.

Counterproductive Eating Habit #1:  “Choosing sugary drinks over water.”

  • Negative Consequences:  added sugar, doesn’t fill the void, makes me crave more sweets, expensive, I seem to always be thirsty
  • New PRODUCTIVE Eating Habit #1:  “I drink a minimum of 80 ounces of water daily.”
  • Benefit of NEW Habit #1:  I will be more hydrated.  This leads to better digestion, plump skin, mental clarity and a whole host of other things.  In addition, I save mucho dinero because I am no longer running by a convenience store or Starbucks for drinks while I’m out.
  • ACTION PLAN Eating Habit #1: 
    • Fill up my 32 ounce water bottle 3x per day.
    • Once at 7AM; Once at 11AM; Once at 3PM.
    • Repeat EVERY day of the week!
  • I will start this new habit tomorrow, (insert date here).

Counterproductive Eating Habit #2:  “Eating from a paper bag in my car.”

  • Negative Consequences:  high in calories, high in carbs, made with junky oils, way too easy to eat too much, never seem to fill me up, I don’t enjoy my food…I just choke it down, I’m always rushing through it, I don’t chew completely.
  • New PRODUCTIVE Eating Habit #2:  “I pack lunch days I work away from home.”
  • Benefit of NEW Habit #2:  I will know exactly what I am eating for lunch and can plan a drive-by microwave session at a friend’s office or a convenience store (just ask, they’re usually really cool about this) around lunchtime if need be.  I can spend a few minutes sitting at a picnic table or on one of my beach chairs while eating lunch at the park or by the water; this is mental as well as nutrient therapy.  If I have a lunch meeting, I will no longer feel rushed when I eat.  Lunch will not be an afterthought, it will be a deliberate activity and leave me feeling nourished.  I will save tons of money not eating lunch out.  I will no longer make less than ideal choices through my car’s window.  No more paper bag lunches for moi!
  • ACTION PLAN Eating Habit #2: 
    • Make extra dinner to take to lunch the next day.
    • Pack a lunch-sized portion as I’m putting away dinner leftovers.  Place in the fridge.
    • Set out my lunch bag for the next day.  Put it by the coffee machine so I can pack it as I’m waiting for my morning joe to brew.  (Seriously the only way I won’t forget!)
    • Repeat every Sunday through Thursday night.
  • I will start this new habit Sunday (insert date here) as well and be consistent every weekday I am not working from home.  This will require a little planning, but I can do it!

In Part 4 we will explore what life looks like with these new habits working for you.  Make a real effort to undertake this exercise for a few habits that are not serving you well.

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