How many times have you found yourself saying you’re going to commit to changing something in your life and failed? Personally, I’ve lost count of how often this has happened to me.
For example saying to myself that I’m going to stop eating sugary treats and failing the second I start craving sugary food and reaching for the biscuit tin. In this scenario, as humans we have a tendency to label ourselves as failures and then go back to eating sugary foods.
Our Thought Processes Are Embedded
We are habitual beings, and whilst this is true if you were looking at things like our daily, weekly, monthly routine what we have to remember is that our thinking is habitual too. Our thought processes have been embedded over years of laying down the neural foundations of our repeated activities in our brains. They may have been influenced by a whole array of experiences. For example your mother’s love of baking may have sparked a sweet tooth which you’ve never been able to shake off. Hence, it’s not quite as simple as just changing your habit if you want to start changing your lifestyle.
Housekeeping Your Habits
In fact, evidence has shown that in order for us to make lasting changes our habits and lifestyle we have to start by preparing our minds for this change. Think of it like housekeeping, you can only find space for more items in an already full cupboard if you take some out. The same logic can be applied to implementing change in your life. You have to understand your own behaviours and more importantly triggers in order to introduce a new behaviour or habit.
Four Simple Questions
So how do we achieve this, i.e. how can you be more successful at implementing the changes you want to see in yourself. The beginning is simple, instead of diving into the change, begin by reviewing yourself. For example say you want to cut out sugar from your diet begin by asking yourself the following questions:
1. When do I most crave sugar?
Perhaps you find yourself craving sugar in the mid afternoon or after your evening meal.
2. What am I doing when I crave sugar?
You may find that you’re usually sitting at your desk mid afternoon trying to complete pressing work or feeling bored in the evening.
3. What impact does the sugar have on my body?
Observe what happens after you consume the sugar. If you crave sugar in the afternoon you might find yourself productive for the next hour but then extremely exhausted for the rest of the day. In the evening you might find that even though your body wants to go to bed early you stay up and watch television for a few hours instead.
4. How do I feel immediately after I consume sugar?
I hope you've found these questions useful. By taking the time to explore our existing habit we begin to observe our behaviour almost as if we were an outsider. By doing this, it creates clarity for you to find easier ways of changing them. Komal x