Good Measure Meals Healthy ConnectionsIs food really the enemy? This May Be The Key to Your Success - Good Measure Meals Healthy Connections

Is food really the enemy? This May Be The Key to Your Success

Guest Post Contributed by:

Living Fully Psychological Services

Sheree K. Ash, M.S.
Pegah Moghaddam, Psy.D.

Life is filled with routines. Perhaps your routine may sound similar to this: hearing your alarm clock sound, pressing the snooze button several times, inevitably getting out of the bed, putting on a fresh pot of coffee, and eventually getting dressed to start your day.

Sound familiar? Routines can have immense value. Routines help organize our lives and create structure and familiarity; however, to change an unhelpful routine, we must first monitor and observe our specific behaviors that contribute to the routine. Understanding how undesired behaviors are linked together to create a pattern and the consequential effects of the pattern are the first steps in eliciting awareness toward change.

[Undesired behavior + Undesired behavior + Undesired behavior= unhelpful routine]

Consider the example above. If you’ve hit the snooze button one too many times, you may not have time to eat breakfast. This relentless build-up of deprivation will probably drive you to devour your lunch out of prolonged “hangriness.”

Still unsatisfied, you savagely eat the snacks in the office break room. At this point, the emotional and physical consequences set in. The floodgates of shame, guilt, and embarrassment enter the room; followed by the physiological effects of lethargy due to increased sugar, and, later, demotivation to exercise after work.

Now imagine the power of slowing down to actually notice your patterns and develop a new routine—one with focused attention. Like the squirrels who vigorously dig and hide acorns in preparation for the winter, as humans, we are most successful when we are aware of our environment and our individual response patterns within various settings. Once we are aware, it is equally important to know how to change our behaviors that may be unhelpful or unproductive.

When changing a behavior, whether positive or negative, be very specific. Choose a behavior that can be objectively measured, with a particular interest in noticing what happens before and after your chosen behavior. The act of curiously noticing your patterns will create your awareness of the triggers that may be reinforcing your behaviors. Also, this focused attention may offer new possibilities of choice to shift towards your desired behavior. Remember, repetition is the crux of developing any habit, but learning to investigate current patterns and proactively planning new steps may likely direct your life towards the path that you truly value. Better to choose your path than to aimlessly roam down an unknown path.

 

Successful change happens when our goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented (SMART). Choose one behavior at a time.

 

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I satisfied with my current routine(s)?
  •  Is there something I would prefer to change?

Next Steps:

  • What is one realistic behavior that I can focus on changing within my routine?
    • How will I measure this behavior’s current pattern?
    • How will I measure change to this behavior pattern?
    • Within what time frame will I assess this behavior pattern and the changes I’d like to see?
  • Try proactively scheduling or planning a desired behavior that you would like to implement. Again, be realistic and specific. Small, strategic, consistent goals lead to big results!
  • Consider noticing how intentional awareness or pre-planning may impact your mood or level of self-confidence.

If you would like specific tools to help you monitor your routines or develop new routines, visit www.livingfullytherapy.com.

Guest Post Contributed by:

Living Fully Psychological Services

Sheree K. Ash, M.S.
Pegah Moghaddam, Psy.D.

 

 

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