Changing Bad Habits

Changing a bad habit is no joke. It’s basically a constant struggle and forces you to evaluate and re-evaluate significantly more than is typically comfortable. For about a month, I’ve established a few healthy habits, but it has all been to no avail because I am undoing all my hard work nonstop! My chocolate addiction is out of control and I often found myself unable to stop myself. But it didn’t stop at chocolate. It was popcorn and hot chocolate and stuffed pretzels too! I was feeling absolutely terrible about myself and I was fairly miserable.

So I realized that if I wanted to make any progress, I needed to identify where I was faltering and how I could fix it. The most frequent times that I betrayed my efforts were at school (the vending machine- argh!) and on my way home from school (exhaustion coupled with the desire to reward my “efforts” and driving past 4 WaWa’s…). Not using the vending machine is simple- leave my purse with all my money in the car- or just don’t carry cash!

However- avoiding the temptation of four WaWa’s (and a Walmart) is much more difficult. I struggled and struggled week after week, day after day. My car got progressively messier- smudged chocolate and wrappers and plastic bags. So I cleaned it. This unseasonably warm weather gave me an opportunity to be out in the sunshine for more than 10 minutes without getting cranky, so I took that time to clean my car out. I vacuumed the mats, even getting under the mats, and wiped down the seats and everything else with Clorox wipes. It smelled good, it felt good, and I was quite pleased with how it all turned out. Finally- it looked like a brand new car again!

I frequently listen to the podcast¬†Happier with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. In one of the episodes, they discuss how to harness the power of change. Oftentimes when a major change occurs, that is precisely when a new habit can form (for good or bad!). For example, when you move to new house, all kinds of new habits can form: will you wear shoes in the house, how often will you vacuum, things like that. I felt like I could make the power of change work for me in this case. No, not just cleaning the car- keeping it clean. I started leasing my car in late July, so it’s still a fairly new purchase. Even though it’s been a few months since it was brand new, I decided it would be worth a shot. I felt happy and organized when my car was clean, and since I spend over two hours a day in it- it should feel like a sanctuary. Basically, my plan was to pretend like I had just bought the car again. Start fresh.

So, in an effort to curb my poor eating habits and keep my car clean- I will no longer allow eating in the car. No fast food, no stops at Wawa, not even breakfast in the morning. No food! Water, tea, a protein shake- fine. But no food!

Let’s see how this plays out and if I’m able to consciously trick myself into better habits. Do you have any tricks to change your habits? Let me know in the comments!

 

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