Bad habits - we all have them. I am a bit ashamed to say I already thought of 5 of my bad habits while I was writing this sentence.
The big one is NAIL BITING
I used the “reward” habit for this one. I always wanted longer nails. I didn’t want some long fake nails but just not have nails bit down to the quick. I started rewarding myself with manicures and I found that when they looked all nice and pretty I didn’t bite them as much. Now I use shellac and wow! I do not bite my nails anymore.
Now, I try to bite my nails but then I look at how pretty they look and don’t want to mess them up especially with shellac because then I have to go into the salon to fix it. On top of that, I’m a bit cheap so I don’t want to pay $15 every time I decide to bite my nail.
At the same time my other bad habit was rewarding myself with food. DO NOT DO THAT. I started letting myself eat whatever I wanted and for me that meant chicarrones con valentina, hot Cheetos, queso and fast food. When you lose weight instead reward yourself with a day at the spa or an extra cheat day.
At the end of the day, I found out that I wasn’t craving that salty, greasy, sweet food. I was craving some kind of reward, some kind of acknowledgemt of a job well done.
I also had to acknowledge I had a habit of emotional eating. If I was upset food was my comfort. I still want to stuff my face with chocolate, chips, queso, etc. when I’m having a bad day. I get indignant about it, “I DESERVE it after a bad day.”
Now, I go for a walk with my dog. People would tell me to exercise when I had a bad day but do you know how hard it is for you to get the motivation to exercise on those days?
So find something that you like to do. Whether it’s walking your dog or maybe dancing around to cumbia or gangnam style or mediating or swimming. Just do that a few times instead of grabbing the food and soon your brain will rewire itself.
And the emotional eating habit is something I’m still working on. Don’t beat yourself up when you have that cupcake or oh so delicious gordita you know was just friend in tons of lard. You’re human, it happens. No one is perfect but the best thing you can do is get up and keep going. Don’t give up!
Learn more by reading Habits How They Form And How to Break Them but know there is ALWAYS hope.
“What we know from lab studies is that it’s never too late to break a habit. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life. But we also know that the best way to change a habit is to understand its structure — that once you tell people about the cue and the reward and you force them to recognize what those factors are in a behavior, it becomes much, much easier to change.”