Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Changing habits by setting intentions

As my readers know, I have been struggling with how often I go to the coffee shop and buy a treat as well as healthy habits overall. Trying to not do something is different than trying to do something so I am making an effort to state my positive intentions during the day.

Yesterday it was that I would only buy what was on my Whole Foods grocery list and head straight home. Yesterday's eating intention was to eat meals that would hold me without a snack until the next meal. Today my intention was that I would shower after I did my work out. I also stated to myself that I would have a large salad for lunch today.

I'm thinking that the urge to head to the coffee shop about 3pm each day has more to do with being bored and feeling housebound as well as being my low energy time of day than it does with wanting coffee. I do have coffee at home. I'm trying to have a plan in mind of something to do each afternoon instead. I'll probably switch many of my errands to after lunch instead of morning. I am a morning person so I tend to power through my to do list in the morning and then fade mid-afternoon. Time to change my day's routing to up my energy in the afternoon without eating sweets while having a coffee out!

Its early days yet but I am finding this approach works much better for the way I work! Breaking habits without something to substitute for the undesirable habit is virtually impossible - at least for me.

Have you tried an approach similar to this or another way of changing your habits? Would love to share ideas.

9 comments:

  1. I'm wondering if habits are not brought about by something we need rather than something that we should feel bad about, if that makes sense. Shouldn't we just accept them and work around them? Still very much a work in progress for me too ! xx

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  2. Some habits must be needs but the ones I am focused on certainly aren't! It doesn't take many repeat of a pattern for our brains to create a strong habit. So driving home from almost any errand puts me on the street that has my favorite coffee place and The Cupcake Factory. They are so close to my house that I can walk there. I have an ingrained habit of going there and having too many calories. Trying to limit the number of times I go a week isn't working so I am going day by day since I want to lose weight more than I want an overpriced cookie LOL. Once I create a new habit then I can decide how often to go. I don't feel bad about it but that is just me.

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    1. I think I may have misunderstood the point of your comment. I agree that we shouldn't beat ourselves up for lapses and I am simply trying a different strategy to make changes I know will benefit my health. For me it is about a lower cholesterol level, losing a bit of weight and being strong and fit not about saving money.

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  3. I had the habit of pouring myself a glass of wine while I was making dinner. Not wanting the extra calories, I started to instead have a glass of sparkling water from my Soda Stream. Just as refreshing without the calories.

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    1. That is a great substitution. My husband had to give up drinking beer due to his gout and he also has substituted sparkling water as his drink when he gets home from work.

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  4. Juhli, I know you want to "break" the coffee shop habit but I think that joy is what life is about. Please don't cut out a social part of your life. Getting out of the house is very important and I have often said that my coffee shop could be my living room. I can take a book and read a bit as I sip a small cup of coffee and a glass of the free water. Being around other people is so important to my mental health and I am sure it is to yours too.

    It is just a thought.

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    1. I do agree that it is important to get out of the house Barbara and just got home from coffee with a friend. I'm trying to substitute healthier habits for going out for coffee and a sweet by myself though. Just something I need to do.

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  5. I am also a morning person and fade mid-afternoon! I find it best to be more busy at that time and to save a project that I'm looking forward to working on.

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    1. That is exactly what I want to shift to doing. It was not a problem when I was working but I have let it become one in retirement.

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