Habits are the behaviors that we execute in our day to day and that we have acquired by instinct or inheritance, familiar and social.
Habits are incredibly powerful and help automate our lives. They make our lives easier, free our attention to focus on other things.
Habits are part of our natural survival system and make us more effective but also keep us trapped in a loop of harmful behaviors such as compulsive eating or smoking. The problem is that habits do not exist in isolation, they form networks with other habits that take root and reinforce them.
For example, when I go out with tapas friends with friends, like greasy things, I drink alcohol and smoke.
Habit structures are as solid as a spider web but this does not mean that we cannot modify our habits and end behaviors that harm us. The key: we must break them one by one. As my mother said wisely, the one that covers a lot of tightening.
Bad eating habits
Focusing on eating behaviors, eating habits that affect our relationship with food are deeply rooted. Its origin is in our childhood and our adolescence.
In principle, eating habits are like those of our parents or our grandparents. If you never ate fish in our house, you will rarely be a big fan of foods of this type. We eat just like our surroundings, whether due to death, excess or association.
And it is here that we should place more emphasis on the association: What do we relate to a certain type of food? Where does that smell of fresh pastries transport us? Why do I have to eat those crumbs every time I go to town?
Answering these types of questions will help us become aware of all the behaviors related to our diet.
Can I break bad eating habits?
When we try to break with those habits clinging to our interior by changing only the foods we eat for other healthier foods, we usually fail in this attempt to change. These customs, eating habits, are so rooted that they will push us back into the loop of harmful behaviors.
Once we have become aware of everything related to our bad eating habits, we have to look for the motivation to meet our goal. Motivation is the main engine of change. This is linked to learning, memory and emotions.
Your goal has to be important to you, it has to be part of your priorities and you have to vibrate with the idea of achieving it. Without emotion there will be no illusion and willpower necessary to overcome the barriers that you will encounter along the way will fade away.
In addition to becoming aware and motivated, to change habits there are other important points that will help you gradually achieve your goal: substitution, repetition of new behaviors and reward.
Generating new rituals that you repeat every day and that produce the same sense of pleasure as a harmful behavior (eating a box of chocolates to fill the emotional void) is one of the keys to success.
For example, getting home after a stressful day’s work and taking a foam bath instead of throwing yourself on the couch and docking the fridge can be a new healthy behavior. Reward yourself after that day of work and generate satisfaction will cause you to remain motivated. Without prize there is no motivation.
What you should never forget in a process of changing habits, whatever the type, is: “A journey of a thousand kilometers begins with a single step.”