If you know how you form the habits you choose you can be better prepared to develop new ones. I use visualization a lot on the forming of new patterns after realizing that I was using visualization subconsciously all my life. When I lived in Tampa, Florida, I discovered after I moved to Temple Terrace, a suburb there, that I had been using a gas station in Temple Terrace which was out of my other neighborhood. When I was at that station, I felt like I was “at home”. In some ways our subconscious may be guiding us through all our major changes.
As well as visualization, which I consciously choose to use now, I also believe in developing good habits about health. In January, 2015, I decided that at age 74 my only health risk was that I was overweight by 30 pounds. I have lost weight (20 pounds each time) three times in my life–during college, in my 40s, and in 2000. But this time, I was 30+ overweight and practically sedentary. I am at my computer 8-10 hours per day.
In January when I decided to lose weight, I decided I would only add a daily bike ride to my routine. I wanted to learn the right foods for me and the proper portions. My Fitness Pal (which I mention here) helps me to choose my foods and portions by showing me what each food contains. It is a very easy tool to use as all my daily foods are shown on one page.
I also decided that too many times I have improperly used exercise as a quick fix for my overeating. Exercise more and you get to eat more. Right? Wrong. It ony led to bigger portions than I needed and weight gain. So my first battle was to be with portions. To date, I have lost 16 pounds.
So, three days ago, I added using the treadmill on an incline to add more challenge to my bike ride. This morning, I weighed myself there on the scales and I had lost another 5 pounds. But I know that that first weight loss reading is the 1st stage to my actually losing the weight. I believe that my body will now make a last-ditch attempt to not let go of that weight. I have noticed that right after a weight loss I become very hungry which is my body wanting to not let go of the weight. Because I am aware of this tendency to hold on to the weight, I become extra vigilante to not overeat. Instead I increase my lemon water. I drink water from the tap but I use fresh lemons to make it more fun to drink.
I am a person who finds it very easy to form new habits. In taking Gretchen Rubin’s test: The Four Tendencies, I found I am an upholder. So, of course, it is easy for me to change. My mantra is that change is just a decision. You make a decision and you change. I now know why I often get nothing but a blank stare from people. It is because they don’t have a clue about what I am talking about because change is more a process for them.
The biggest tool I’ve learned to help others is to meet them where they are. And I’ve learned from Gretchen’s book that there are 4 different ways we acquire new habits. So I am changing my mantra of change is just a decision. My new mantra is change is a process. Because it is for most people. For me, not so much.