What Should I Stop Doing?

I was asked to write a blog about the single most important thing a person can stop doing to improve their well-being. Wow … One thing? There are so many things one can stop doing: smoking, eating sugar and processed foods, drinking excessively, overeating, doing drugs, staying up late and getting up early, living a stressed out life, ignoring issues rather than dealing with them. The list is long.

A colleague of mine recently wrote a short blog (check it out here) about whether or not you are the type to try to do something or if you just do it. When I was asked to write about what people should stop doing it Dana’s blog came to mind: They should stop trying.

What!?! Stop trying to lose weight/quit smoking/quit drinking/quit eating sugar/get to bed on time??? How will that improve my well-being? First, you won’t be buying into the excuses you come up with since they are no longer necessary. (Just this one, but it’s my birthday, but it’s my second cousin Rose’s birthday, but I did a good job today, but I had a hard day today, but my boss hates me, but I deserve it, but I’m lonely and sad, but, but, but.) Second, trying gives us an excuse to feel better about ourselves without really doing the work required … “Well, I’m trying to fix this.” Third, accepting responsibility for your choices will bring into focus your responsibility for the state of your well-being.

So, what’s the solution? Commitment.  Changing a lifetime of habits takes a commitment. Some habits require cold turkey techniques while others allow you to make small changes over time that add up to big changes … both require a major commitment.

Try saying these statements out loud:

  1. “I will not eat after dinner … no matter what! The way I feel and move depends on it. The quality of my days depends on it.”
  2. “I will try not to eat after dinner. I know it’s better for me.”

Can you feel the difference in these two statements? #1 just feels powerful: I’m in charge here and I accept responsibility for sticking to it! #2 gives up the power right out of the gate and allows for excuse making to take over.

As an example, I’ll use myself since I’m my most well-known subject! I eat when I’m ready to take a break from the day. One slice of watermelon is good, four is ridiculous. So, the above statements are mine. Once I truly commit to something, it happens. Until then, I play with it and totally buy into the excuses for the behavior.

So my advice is to stop trying and failing. It’s depressing as hell and self-defeating. When you’re ready to commit, go for it! If you need help solving a problem or getting to a place of commitment, seek the help of a professional. There are support groups for AA in every town and online. An online support group is what helped me quit smoking cold turkey in 1998. Of course, I recommend a Certified Health Coach (ME!) for weight loss and healthy habits. This is where making small changes can result in big payoffs! Learn more by visiting my website, HealthWorksKC.

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