Changing Habits

I was reading the Boston Globe  and came across an article of great interest to me. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, was interviewed about his book and talks about the process in which to change our bad habits. You can find it at http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/articles/2012/04/30/fighting_the_force_of_habits/.

I work with many clients who need to change unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy habits. I often tell my clients to start noticing the feeling they get when they’re doing something better than what it was they were doing before. For example, I have a client who would never eat breakfast. When I suggested she start eating breakfast and asked her to note how she felt, she noticed she had more energy throughout her day. Charles Duhigg’s interview on how to break a bad habit by figuring out your own cues or rewards is particularly valuable.

Just recently, I was diagnosed with Achilles Tendonitis. It is very challenging considering my lifestyle. I am on my feet 7-9 hours a day and I love DancEnergy as my dance/exercise routine. I go to Gravity Fitness Club in Marblehead with Joyce Colahan: http://dancenergycapecod.com/. For a couple of weeks with this condition, I tried to ignore it and I kept dancing. (denial phase!) Eventually, I could no longer dance because it hurt too much. I was not happy about this and I made the decision to use the exercise bike to get my exercise. But I missed dancing. I saw my beloved Physical Therapist, Ray Choiniere. He always helps me recover from injuries; however, he wanted me to rest and didn’t want me to dance until my Achilles Tendonitis was feeling better. He also told me that it would take a long time to heal!

I am not the most patient person with my injuries. I resigned myself to the bike for 3 weeks. It was boring but my foot was healing. I was just dying to get back to dance. Ray told me I could go back only if I would modify my moves. Joyce was very helpful in showing me how to “walk” through the dances without pain or injuring myself more. As happy as I was to be back, I missed the invigorating feeling I used to feel. There was another student in the class who also had to learn to not put the “hop” into her step; so I observed her carefully. I learned that putting more emphasis in my upper body, lifting my legs higher,  focusing on my posture and thinking more about how to move (without hopping on my foot) gave me back that invigorating feeling I missed so much.

When I recognized the reward of dancing for me was to enjoy the class and feel good after, I was able to change my bad habits from hopping around with this injury by replacing them with the good habits of properly modifying my style of dance and still loving it!

There are many unhealthy habits regarding lifestyle and diet too, but by recognizing the reward in changing these habits to healthy habits:, happier, healthier life is a short reach away. Did you know that for someone who has just recently been diagnosed with lactose-intolerance and needs to break they’re dairy habit, they could replace dairy by having almond, soy or rice milk and be rewarded the same feeling they’d get from the creamy texture?

If you are having difficulties learning how to change unhealthy habits and would like to learn healthy habits, go to www.balancednutritionallifestyles.com. I can help guide you with this process.

 

Share