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A new mindset for building healthy habits
Living healthier becomes easier when you think like this
I’d make a guess that the typical approach you’ve followed for getting your health on track is one of extremes and/or restriction.
No more dessert.
Good bye carbs.
Must exercise for two hours every day.
See ya later booze.
You know what happens next.
It all backfires.
You last maybe a week or two…a month at best.
But you inevitably burn out.
One reason is that you weren’t focused on building the right skills that could serve as your foundation for improvement.
You had ambitious goals so that required actions that were just as ambitious to speed up the process, right?
I’ve been there, and in some circumstances still flirt with that kinda structure.
But without skills and fundamental practices in place - without habits - you’re likely to fall back into old patterns of behaviour.
And the cycle continues.
Here’s what you should focus on instead:
Start new habits. Don’t stop old ones - yet.
Telling yourself to stop a behaviour usually backfires because you’re not laying the foundation for a new habit to be formed.
You put your mind into one of restriction and elimination, which is inherently less appealing and harder to stay consistent with.
This is why it’s so hard to simply, “stop eating junk food at night.”
We don’t have anything to practice1 in its absence.
Rather than trying to cut your “bad” habits altogether, focus on starting a new practice that actively helps you build a better habit.
For example, after dinner you might:
Go for a walk
Eat a piece of fruit
Drink some decaf herbal tea
Deep breathe or meditate for three minutes
Or eat the damn dessert, but practice eating slowly and mindfully
Think about addition, not subtraction.
Build a positive habit. Practice the things that matter.
Over time, your old habits will naturally be replaced by the new ones you’ve adopted.
You’re shifting your mindset towards one of openness, learning, and positivity.
This is a state that has a much greater chance of success.
I’m very intentional about the word practice. Habit used to be my go-to, but now I’m realizing that things don’t become a habit until you’ve practiced them enough. And practice is all about learning, development, and yes, failing.
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