Eating and exercising habits are learned behaviors. The funny thing about habits is that we tend to make them out as bigger than they really are. If you are a smoker, you might think that smoking is just part of you; that you, in many cases, resigned yourself to thinking that nature designed you to be a smoker. If you think this way, you’re never going to stop smoking and be a slave to your habit forever. Your habits are supposed to serve you, not the other way around. That’s how they are formed.
You obviously have some payoff from the habit that’s why you engage in that habit in the first place. It’s not a magical virus that was inflicted on you and for some reason, you can’t stop smoking. Before you develop the habit, there was emotional, psychological, mental and physical payoff that led to physical dependence. This is true for the heroine, nicotine, sex, and also to drugs. This is even true for gossiping and negative social behavior.
Habits don’t exist in a vacuum; there’s always an initial payoff. We chose that pay off. If you understand how these all work, then you’ll be able to make progress in breaking negative habits.
It Is Easy To Think That We Are Sad In Our Ways
It’s funny how powerful the human ability to rationalize can be. We love to make excuses and to justify the negative things going on in our lives.
While the most common justifications about negative eating habits is to say, “Well, I’ve always been a fat person. I was born fat. I am fat. I will die fat.” You can choose to weigh what you want to weigh. You can choose to look the way you want to look. Think about it this way: Many morbidly obese people that were and wore a shape like you. They chose to live their healthier lifestyles and now they look like cover models in fitness magazines. If they can do it, what’s preventing you from doing it?
We think we are sad in our way when in truth, when we can naturally choose alternative that the reason people say that they are sad in their ways is because it’s comforting. People hate change. We also love our comfort zones. Nothing is scarier than moving past our comfort zones. However, if you want to live your life to its fullest potential, you need to realize that your comfort zone has actually turned into a prison.
Your Habits Are Only Unchangeable As You Think Them To Be
The funny thing about habits is it’s like living in a cave. There’s a famous story told by Plato, the famous Greek philosopher, of people living in a cave. They can only look at the shadows outside of the cave. The longer they stay in the cave, the longer they believe that the shadows in their caves are reality. It only took one of those people living in the cave to break out of the cave to see a different reality. The truth is: you choose your reality. Facts cannot be disputed; facts are facts. The external stimuli that you get, the things that you see, the stuff that you smell, the sounds that you hear; those are facts.
Nobody can change those. The problem is the truth that those facts lead to can be chosen, so it all boils down to which kind of truth would you rather subscribe to: a truth that makes you feel worthless, ugly, and fat or truth that sets you free. This is definitely true when it comes to habits. There are only as unchangeable as you think them to be. If you believe in the truth that you can change and choose your habits, then you are on the road to a healthier and better you.
Understand That Learning a Habit Is a Choice
Everything in our lives are choices, seriously. Even if somebody were to crash into your car in the parking lot. You still have a choice. You can choose to get hysterical, scream and cry, or you can choose to become call your insurance adjuster and take care of business. External facts: we really can’t control them; however, how we respond to them makes all the difference in the world. In all cases, external facts all plug into the reality that we choose. If you want to be a successful, emotionally-balanced, and happy person that requires a certain collection of truth.
If you want to be an unhappy, constantly frustrated, and emotionally-immature person, that requires a certain truth as well. There is no law forcing you to choose a certain truth. There is no rule that forces you to live in a miserable way. You have to understand this truth to be clear on the concept that learning a habit is a choice; unlearning a habit is a choice as well.
Habits are exactly that; they are learned behavior. They involve emotional payoffs. As long as you are aware as to what the emotional triggers and physical sequence of actions are, those emotional triggers are put into play. You establish a lot of control over the habits that you are struggling with.
Whether you are struggling with nicotine, sex, or food addiction, it doesn’t really matter. The process and sequence are still the same. It all involves ultimately a choice.
Understand That Habits Powerful Due To Emotional Triggers
The real secret weapon of habits is actually plain, straightforward; they are powerful because they have emotional triggers. When you habitually respond to certain external triggers by raiding your fridge and eating, you do that because there is an emotional payoff. You do that because you feel that you’re comforting yourself. Maybe, when you were a baby, when you cried, your mom just stuffed a milk bottle in your mouth. Or when you were a little bit older, when you cried instead of asking you why you are crying or trying to figure out why you are upset, they put food in front of you.
You have to understand that these are physical actions produce emotional payoffs. They become hardwired in your brain; however, just because they are hardwired doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t break them. Understand how emotional triggers work. Understand the cascade of emotions you feel when you engage in a physical act. This is the key to effective habit management.
Choose To Unlearn Unhealthy Habits
Unhealthy habits are pretty easy to figure out when it comes to weight loss. They all lead to high-calorie intake and low-calorie burn rate. That’s it! It really is pretty straightforward. Know the emotional triggers involved. Instead of feeling comforted when you stuff your face with a rocky road ice cream or some other calorie dense food, feel ashamed, embarrassed, angry, and frustrated.
These negative emotions help upset the established emotional pattern of your habits. The more you do this, the more your mind opens to possible changes to your habitual physical actions.
Choose To Learn Healthy Habits
Once you have associated a negative emotional payoff to the things that physically harm you, like eating too much or not getting enough exercise, the next step is to choose to learn a healthy new habits. This involves maybe walking around the block a few times, eating more vegetables. Regardless, you only need to start small. It’s okay to start with baby steps. You don’t need to turn into a super vegetarian/vegan, or an exercise machine overnight. The key is to take the first step.
In many cases, the baby steps are the best steps possible. Crucial to all of these is to be aware of the emotional triggers that are going through your mind when you do certain physical things. You feel more in control and most importantly, you are putting yourself on the road to lifestyle recovery.