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Top 7 Tips To Take Initial Steps Towards Healthy Habits
By Raymond Lee
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Perhaps the biggest inner fear that keeps people from breaking bad habits is fear of failure. Every long-term dieter feels burned by all the diets that did not work, so they are sceptical about trying again. It is recommended to view the weight-loss attempts not as successes or failures but rather as experiments. Think about what you have learned along the way. Analyze what you did right and what you need to do differently next time. For most people, major life changes take several tries. As you consider your emotional readiness for change, take some small but concrete steps in the right direction.
- Use Nature’s Cures
Bad habits reflect a loss of self-control. Incorporate a few of Nature’s cures into your life to foster self-control and combat the feelings of stress and inner emptiness that lead to many bad habits. Try biofeedback, cognitive therapy, companionship, exercise, low-fat eating, meditation, sleep, tai chi, and chi gong, vegetarianism, visualization, guided imagery and self-hypnosis, walking or yoga.
- Distinguish Between Ordinary And Extraordinary Stress
People who are not ready to take change always find reasons not to try. But sometimes those who really feel fed up face major life problems that make changing difficult, if not impossible. Everyone has background obstacles, bills and hassles with kids and jobs. But if you are facing extraordinary problems – divorce, serious illness, a death in the family or job loss – then you may be too preoccupied to lose weight or make other changes. How long should a person wait after a major problem before tackling a bad habit? It depends on the individual. But you should feel more or less back to normal and no longer preoccupied by the stressor. Occasionally, however, serious problems may spur change. A woman who has just decided to leave a destructive marriage may be facing divorce, but if she feels excited about starting a new and better life, it might be a good time for her to lose weight.
- Hold The Line
As you prepare to lose weight, quite smoking, eliminate credit card debt or make other changes, a good way to begin is to maintain your bad habit without allowing it to get worse. If you are 40 pounds overweight, do not jump right into a weight-loss program. Instead, for a few months, maintain your current weight. If you smoke ten cigarettes a day, do not increase the number. Of if you own $3,000 on your credit cards, maintain that level of debt. Holding the line for six months is a real success. It shows people that they have more control than they thought they had. That boosts their confidence as they move on to the next step, real change.
- Announce Your Intentions
Tell your social support network that you are getting ready to make a major life change and ask for their support. This is not easy. It may be downright embarrassing. Going public forces you to explain what you plan to do, how you plan to do it and why this time will be different from your previous attempts. Going public might invite teasing or even ridicule. Going public is all part of a big process. When you make changes, the people around you must change, too – they must change how they think about you and their expectations of you. Some of their relationships may deteriorate, especially those based on shared indulgence in the habit you are trying to change. But other relationships will grow stronger, because it takes courage to change and people are attracted to those they consider courageous.
- Target Your Triggers
Once you know what triggers the habit you are committed to breaking, plan ahead to minimize the likelihood of slipping into triggering situations. An over-eater might decide to catch the bus farther from that seductive bakery. An alcoholic might decline offers to attend the office’s weekly TGIF party. A smoker might commit to having a cup of herbal tea after meals instead of lighting up.
- Keep A Diary
Your written record does not have to be elaborate or even contain complete sentences. Simply jot some notes about what you are doing, thinking and feeling whenever you indulge in your bad habit. Diaries help identify the triggers that prompt you to do what you rather not. Typical triggers include boredom, loneliness, rejection, frustration and difficult interpersonal encounters.
- Recruit Buddies
If you fear a loss of friends, try recruiting a buddy or two to help with your habit change – supportive, non-judgemental friends you can turn to when you feel in danger of relapsing into your bad habit.
Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.
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Article Submitted On: February 04, 2008