Habits worth makingPublished 11:14am Thursday, January 3, 2013
Most of us make New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions. Common sense tells us it’s counter productive to smoke, drink too much, or consume a second helping at the dinner table. However, we continue to be hooked on bad habits, and the more they are repeated the harder it is to wipe them away.
The reason it is so hard to replace bad habits with good ones, medical experts say, is because the human brain prefers habitual behavior, good or bad, because it’s comfortable and familiar.
Medical experts offer the following suggestions on how to rewire the brain to kick bad habits for good:
•Find a way to make your New Year resolution goals fun. Create a positive, emotionally appealing image of your “new” self. This will help you shift your attitude from “I have to” to “I want to.” Flipping this switch will make you more willing to adopt and maintain your new habits.
•Invent the future you want. Implement changes you want to make today. Don’t wait for the perfect time—there isn’t one. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is out of reach. All you have is today. And consider making all of your habit changes at once. Contrary to popular belief, recent research confirms that people who bravely tackle all of their habit changes together tend to be more successful that those who take a more gradual, piecemeal approach.
•Tell everyone you can about the changes you are making. When you ask friends or family for their encouragement, ask also how you can help them realize their own fitness goals. As social creatures, we are profoundly influenced by the behavior of everyone around us. Use this insight to create a support team and to make sure you’re a positive role model for others.
It’s your life, so have it your way. Create a future that enhances our health and well-being and contributes to the vitality of those around you. That way, when the next New Year rolls around, instead of having regrets, you’ll experience joy and satisfaction as you reflect on your life-changing accomplishments.