My answer on “How to quit smoking?” would be “Instantly! If need be with professional help!”. Of course, because: we already learned that smoking has VERY BAD effects on the human body and health, haven’t we?
“She is smoking??”
If you know me personally, you might know: I do not smoke. “So why does she write about quitting to smoke??” you might now wonder.
The thing is: yes, I don’t smoke… but I’ve developed another unhealthy habit. A habit where you – similar to smoking – pay the health bill way after the “pleasurable” action. AndI go further: I’d almost say it’s an addition, like smoking is.
The thing is: I consume sweets and other sugary stuff e.g. if I feel stressed. And I consume quite a bunch! At least enough of them so that it has already impact on health. And I’m about to change that!
Before Christmas I already made a first attempt to get rid of that habit. A quite serious attempt, I believed. Yet I failed and relapsed back to “as usual”!
But why that? Things I already defined:
- how long I commit myself to “ditching sugar-sweets in favor of healthy treats” to get rid of the addition part (and come back to consuming a good piece of cake or chocolate from time to time)
- why I do it and whom I do it for
- where my triggers are (and how to hack/hook into them)
- strategies to resettle the habit-in-incubation in case I fail once
- strategies to set me up for success
Reflecting on this first failure to build this new habit, my amount of willpower was used-up too fast. It was depleted before I embodied the new habit in a way that it feels (almost) effortless. At least so effortless that there’s enough free willpower available again to be invested into other important areas.
Right after Christmas, I decided to start over again with habit building. Now with a slightly modified setup for the habit.
Missing pieces: Accountability & clarity
Basically two essential things were missing: external accountability and clarity. Accountability was fairly easy to realize: I told others about my plan.
Yesterday was day 6 of my #42DaysOfHealthyTreats. It was quite hard to keep up the habit.
And I decided: why not sharing this with more than one person? Why not gain even more clarity than I did while “quickly jotting things down” in my Bullet Journal?
Why not sharing it as a blog post? And with that: possibly inspiring other people (YOU?), finding people on similar paths (maybe implementing their New Year’s resolutions) and learning a bit more on my own path.
The habit building set-up
So, here it is, my “ditch sugar-sweets in favor of healthy treats” (**) set-up:
|1||how long I commit myself to completely “ditch sugar-sweets in favor of healthy treats” to get rid of that addiction level||42 days |
(i.e. until 4th of Feb 2020)
|2||why I do it and whom I do it for (i.e. “the vow“)||for me and for better health|
|3||my triggers (and how to hack/hook into them)||quite a few… just one example: my go-to-when-stressed “food storage cupboard”. This cupboard now contains:|
a) no more sweets
b) a post-it with advice (see 5.)
|4||Strategies to resettle after a failure||1. I will savour that piece of sugar that marked the fail. |
2. I will NOT punch myself for failing!
3. I will reflect in my journal what caused the fail so that I learn from it.
4. I will resume habit-building immediately.
|5||Strategies to set me up for success||a) I do NOT have sweets at home any more|
b) I bought lovely fresh fruit, special teas and alcohol-free craft beer as healthy treats
c) I placed post-its with “what to do instead” at crucial places, e.g. where I stored sweets before
|NEW||accountability anchor||I blog about it (now ;-))|
I track and tweet my progress every day with #42DaysOfHealthyTreats
How about you?
Which unhealthy habits did YOU already ditch?
What did you gain on your way?
I’d love to hear your stories, e.g. how you managed to tackle the beginning, potentially tough phases or the transistion from habit-in-incubation to it’s-an-almost-effortless-part-of-my-life.
Here’s to a healthy and joyful New Year 2020,
(**) By the way, for the curious: “sugar-sweets” are all things containing refined/extra sugar… like cake, cookies, chocolate, jelly beans, choco bread spread, jam. “Healthy treats” are things that serve as a viable, sustainable alternative to me… like fruit, vegs, nuts, joghurt, special delicious teas, non-alcohol craftbeer (especially as a treat in the evening or with friends).