pencil our habits make us

I read quite a bit of esoteric stuff from a lot of different places. Why? Because I find it interesting in how knowledge from different unconnected situations can be applied to my own. It may be linked to health improvement, nutrition or exercise but you never really know where you may get THAT piece of advice that helps you to success.

Like the other day at the Burger Bar – getting my 6 scallops and piece of cod treat – I picked up a builders trade magazine and found an interesting little gem on how creativity can make positive changes to your habits.

It described how sometimes, when making positive changes to eating practice, going without can have the opposite effect to what is intended. Going without can often have disastrous consequences because you are more open to falling prey to bingeing and temptation. This can put at risk all the positive work already achieved. It went on to illustrate how by being a little creative you can remind yourself of your goals and keep the yearnings at bay, so you can keep on taking positive steps.

Their concept for “reminding “ oneself to stay positive during the day, in this case to avoid  indulging in unhealthy snacks, was to put five hair ties on each wrist. You move one hair tie from the left wrist to the right wrist each time you make a positive food decision. If you give in to temptation however, you move two ties from the right wrist to the left. One step forward and two back if you like. The aim is to end your day with all hair ties on the right wrist. A simple idea!

Another idea I’ve gleaned from my Burger Bar “read” is, for instance – if you’re a social butterfly and find it hard not to meet up at those coffee shops with the enticing cakes – restrict your fluttering to meeting up in the park with a thermo-bottle of fresh coffee instead. Or meet at a friends, or invite them to yours, for a coffee fix. The key is to put yourself in a controlled environment where you will not be tempted.

One more. Mix it up and try something different so that you are not tempted by your usual “go-to” comfort food. Create a restaurant night at home, try a new, exotic recipe and set the table to create an atmosphere to eat in. In other words, busy your mind with something different to keep your mind off the negative enticements.

Additionally. Trying to boost your energy levels or burn some calories? Get out and about by foot rather than by car. Simple yes, but start small by walking down the street till you have passed 10 houses – then walk home. The next day, add 2 more and the next, another 2. Before you know it you will be walking around the block and not even noticing it.

As an aside, you can use a similar approach for basic strength training. My young grandson, who I’ve just been visiting in Queensland, is 6, and wants to “get bigger muscles”. So I suggested a similar strategy to help him get there. He started off with 1 press-up and 1 sit up each morning before getting dressed for school. After 15 days he is still at it adding one more of each exercise daily! He is a rather focused little chap so it will be interesting to see at how many reps he decides to level off with.

So there it is. Four quick and easy, creative concepts, to create good habits. Still, I do find it hard to envisage a brickie’s labourer or steel worker wearing a set of colourful hair ties on each wrist – but there you have it!