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Uncertain Times

 It’s a time of uncertainty; a time of change. Not the best of times. Maybe the worst of times. But also, a time to develop new healthier habits! The reality is that in times of change, your unhealthy habits can fall by the wayside as you develop new healthier ones. Why is this so? Because many of the things, places, and people that cued some of your unhealthy habits may no longer be operative in this new stay at home, social distancing environment.

We all know that repetition is essential for learning new habits, but successful learning also depends on the presence of stable prompts. In these difficult times, many prompts for unhealthy behaviors may not be present in our new stay at home stay away from people environments. So now you can capitalize on these altered bad habit triggers through a positive life change. You can develop new stable positive habit triggers that lead to a healthier lifestyle.

First, take some time to examine your values. What values are truly important to you. Why don’t you do a brief activity to help you begin to think about what you want to create in your life. Take a moment to reflect: deep down inside, what is important to you? What do you want your life to stand for? What sort of qualities do you want to cultivate as a person? How do you want to be in your relationships with others? Values are our heart's deepest desires for the way we want to interact with and relate to the world, other people, and ourselves. They are leading principles that can guide us and motivate us as we move through life.

Now ask yourself the following question: what healthy habits would I like to develop now in this time of uncertainty and change that will help me to live a healthier lifestyle? Make a list of the general healthy habits you want to develop. For example; exercise more, sleep better, eat healthier, reduce stress, stop procrastinating and be more productive, and become more kind.

The mistake most people make when trying to develop new habits is that they pick too big of a behavior. For example, “I will go to the gym three times a week for the rest of the year.” “I will lose 50 pounds in the next six months.” “I will write that novel that I have been putting off all these years.” A few months later, the gym trips have stopped, the weight loss has stabilized, and the unfinished book sits on a shelf in the study. So, is there a better way?

I recommend the “Small Step Approach” to habit change. To find out more about this visit the Habit Busters website. There is some good information on habits and how to develop good habits or bust bad habits.

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