Long-term healthy habits do not come easy. In fact, inaccurate thoughts, or cognitive distortions, are thoughts that aren’t necessarily true, and that hold us back from making the changes we want to make. In order to change the way we view healthy habits, we need to not just identify inaccurate thoughts, but we also need to challenge them. One of the predominant thought patterns that I notice as a Health Advisor, when it comes to habit changes, is the all-or-nothing or overgeneralizing thinking pattern which can also be thought of as the black or white thinking. For example, thoughts like:
- I need to eat healthy all the time to make it worthwhile.
- I used to be really fit and worked out five days a week. If I can’t do that, it doesn’t count.
- I haven’t been able to eat healthy all week, so I’ll just wait for next week.
- It’s raining (or hot, or my workout partner cancelled) so I can’t exercise.
- I hate all exercises.
If you can admit that a similar statement has come out of your mouth, or at least been thought at some point, I ask you to challenge that thought by asking: Why? Says who?
Another frequent thought pattern I have noticed is the control fallacy or discounting your future self thinking pattern.
- I have no time to meal prep.
- I’ll do it later, when I have more time.
- I’ll start on Monday (or the first of the month, or after a vacation).
- My family/work demands all my time and energy.
- I know I have diabetes (or some other chronic condition), but I have more important things to deal with now.
So again, if you can admit that a similar statement has come out of your mouth, or at least been thought at some point, I ask you to challenge that thought by asking: What in your life will change in the future to enable you to be healthy? (Or choose this healthier behavior? )If your present self is unable to be healthy, what makes you think your future self will be able to do it? If not now, when? The easiest way to begin changing your habits is by changing old thought patterns that do not serve you and get aligned with your healthiest and happiest life possible!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey