5 Stages Of Changing Unhealthy Behaviors That Keep You Unhappy In Your Body

From Zero to Perfect

12_mposter_wall_5150b3c79606ee7d7c3a8631Bingeing, overeating, eating too much bread and pasta, not exercising, drinking, smoking, engaging in self-hate rants… Whatever it is for you, once we identify the behavior we want to change, we aim to go from 0 to 100 in one day. From bingeing every night to never doing it again. From not exercising, to exercising for an hour 5 times a week. From not eating veggie to eating only veggies. From overeating to eating perfect portions all the time. You get the picture. We aim for a 180 turn right away. This approach while works for some sets many for a failure and disappointment.

If you set your mind for perfection and fail to achieve it one day, the likely reaction is a feeling of internal betrayal, distrust, and a search for punishment (which most likely will include an unhealthy behavior like overeating, drinking, or laying on the couch for hours).

Instead of aiming for adopting a new habit right away, it is kinder to ourselves to do it in baby steps. All change happens in stages. Being aware of the stages helps to stay on track and not be judgmental of our progress.

When we create new habits we tend to expect to be ‘good’ at doing them right away but in real life it takes time for our body and brain to re-adjust. I find this poem very helpful in re-evaluating habit change process:

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

a poem by Portia Nelson, published in her book

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

Chapter I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost … I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

 Chapter II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,

my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Life-Long Journey

I always remind my clients that only through self-forgiveness, love, compassion, and an open dialogue between our mind and body we can re-build, restore, and recover.

It’s a life-long journey, not a one day exercise. Being aware of the stages of change can be very helpful in reducing or avoiding self-criticism, pressure to be perfect, and finding a new level of self-acceptance.

If you haven’t seen a video about my intuitive approach to habit change, watch the video from the past week.

If you are ready to start your kind journey of establishing a trusting, integrity based relationship with your body and change your habits in a gentle but smart way, watch today’s video.

Your Turn: In the comments below, write the statement with a substitute habit, trigger/cue, and reward that you are going for.

EX: I will close my eyes and do 10 rounds of deep breathing, before lunch when I feel overwhelmed, because it provides me the grounding I need.

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