Ever have a moment of clarity about yourself that hit you right between the eyes? I’ve come to both expect and appreciate these moments because they usually (though not always) lead to a level of much-needed improvement in my life.
A recent conversation I carried on with myself went something like this…
I: I thought you were going to stop eating chips.
Myself: But they’re so good! They’re so crunchy! They’re so salty! Yummy!
I: They’re horrible when it comes to sodium, cholesterol, and overall health.
Myself: Crunchy! Salty! Yummy!
I: Why do you eat something you know is unhealthy?
Myself: Because YOU keep buying them!
I: I’m not buying them anymore!
If I will finally stop buying the addictive… yes, Yummy… little buggers, the problem will be solved.
Problem is, I’ve had this conversation with myself, before, and I’ve rolled my cart right back to the potato chip aisle defiantly.
Seriously, I could just punch Myself.
Yesterday, I meandered into the kitchen for a snack. As I’ve mentioned on the self help blog before, I am the proud owner of a hiatal hernia, which necessitates eating small amounts frequently as opposed to large meals a few times a day. As you’d imagine, this can trip a body up when they’re looking for something quick and convenient.
Guess what’s conveniently bagged and downright fun to grab a handful of anytime you want them?
Sure enough, when I walked into the kitchen, I grabbed a bag and dove in, without even fully registering what I was doing. When I finished off a big old handful of them, I went to wipe off my hands. Greasy and salty. It was at this point I had a heart to heart with myself.
How can anyone who considers themselves to be relatively intelligent and reasonable keep falling into the same trap… especially a trap they set?!? I think, after my self-convo yesterday, I have a little insight into the dilemma. When we try to out-smart ourselves by setting our own traps we fail for one clear reason – we know there will be no REAL consequence because if we’re anything with ourselves, it’s lenient. When I say, “I won’t buy them anymore” – I don’t stick with the program because, what am I going to do? Ground myself from watching History Channel for a month?
Here’s where it gets trickier – the more often we repeat the cycle, the easier it is to do so. Seriously, it’s the easiest thing in the world to wheel into the chip aisle and throw a couple of bags into the cart. I don’t even have to think about it and I’m certain I could find the aisle in the dark. Furthermore, I believe I have the skill set to distinguish Doritos from Lay’s and Lay’s from Cheetos simply by feeling the bags in the dark.
We have to finally get to the point where we are so PUT OUT with ourselves that we say “enough is enough” and vow to make a change that will stick.
For me and my personal “Consistently Inconsistent” roller-coaster, it will mean…
- Being strong when I see chips sitting on the shelves.
- Not give in when my weakness says, “Come on, just one bag..”
- Find a snacking alternative (more on that in a minute).
- Not back down, no matter what – not even once. It’ll be uncomfortable when I wheel by the aisle. I’ll feel an inner conflict, to be sure, but each time I do it, it’ll become easier and easier. When we win these small battles in life, they make us stronger and, as a result, help us with future battles.
When I’ve had battles with other “Consistently Inconsistents” in the past, I’ve found that I must, must, must provide an alternative for myself. I’m wired in such a way that going cold-turkey on anything is impossible unless I have a alternative. For example, I once decided to give up diet soft drinks. I didn’t just drink them to wash down food or stay hydrated – I enjoyed drinking them, quite frankly. I had to ask myself, “What is it you enjoy about these drinks so much? What do they provide?”
When I realized that they were convenient, fun, and tasted darn good, I had a road-map of what my alternative had to measure up to.
I knew what it needed to be and I knew what it needed NOT to be (unhealthy). My solution was coconut water and iced tea.
Whatever you’re up against, ask yourself similar questions…
- What do you get from this?
- What need does it address?
Then, you’ll want to ask yourself WHY you want to give it up…
- What’s bad about this?
- What is this doing or causing that isn’t best for me?
Now? Find an alternative! I think the best way to go about breaking a bad habit is establish a new… better.. habit in its place.
Come up with a list of alternatives – whether they’re foods, drinks, hobbies, activities, tv shows, etc. Write a list of ideas and try them out. When it came to switching drinks, I first tried bottled water.
Didn’t last two days.
Then I tried flavored water.
Made it three whole days.
Then I hit upon coconut water and the deal was sealed.
I’ve decided to keep celery and carrots on hand to help steer me from potato chips – they’ll be healthier in every conceivable way. At least they’ll score crunchy and tasty points… maybe I’ll be able to trick Myself into imagining that they’re salty.
If you want to defeat something – stay on its case. Don’t let up and never let it see you sweat.
~ Joi (“Joy”)