Habits. They can make or break you when you are trying to establish new, healthier routines in your life. We’ve seen that there is a definite habit pattern. First is the cue, which leads to the routine, which leads to the reward.
We talked about recognizing the cues so you can avoid them. That will work if you can make a detour so you won’t walk past the vending machine. But, what about cues you can’t change? If you have a time cue — every day at 2 p.m. you are ready for a snack, for example. You can’t make 2 o’clock go away. If boredom is your cue, or anxiety, you can’t just erase them. (Wish we could!)
But that doesn’t mean you are doomed to fail. Instead, let’s take a look at the other end of the cycle — the reward. Think about it. What do you get when you indulge in that food habit? A boost of energy? A relief from boredom? A calming effect on your nerves?
Once you identify your reward, you can start to work around it.
Instead of just scarfing down the food today, take notice of what you eat, when you are eating it, and how you feel afterward. We’ll look tomorrow at things you can do to change your routine to get the same reward.
Susan Jordan Brown