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Desire, Ease, and Excuses

Monday, July 21, 2014

Last week I read a blog from Gretchen Rubin, "My New Book about Habit Formation, as Distilled in 21 Sentences." * and it lead me to reflect on habit formation...

Here is what she has to say and my thoughts on the section "Desire, Ease and Excuses" ...
"Abstaining: For some of us, moderation is too tough; it’s easier to give up something altogether. (Works very well for some people, and not at all for others.)"

I think this works well for me... If I try moderation, in particular with food, it is very difficult to stop myself - for some trigger foods, it is almost impossible if I am eating alone!
Portion control helps: For instance, it is very difficult to have only one piece of a chocolate bar. It is easier to have one truffle! Also, put it in a bowl, you know how much you are getting... if you stop yourself once the bowl is empty! My problem, I have a tendency to go back for a second (that is true for dry peanuts in shell - it is a snack at the local pub we go ... just so hard to resist... I would be better off abstaining if I don't want to go over!)

"Convenience: Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong." I love this one!!! To do it right, I keep healthy snacks with me at work... to make it hard, just don't have handy the junk/trigger food! That is so simple!!! I also prepare extra healthy food, that way I have left over that I take for lunch the next day... or easy quick week night dinner.
We hosted a BBQ yesterday, so I had extra pork loin... I turned it into a warm faux-fry with 200gr Bean sprout, 100gr zucchini and 100gr green beans and 3.5oz Pork per serving... For a total of 313 calories! And yummi!

"Inconvenience: Change your surroundings, not yourself." I think this one is almost the same as the previous one... I know my shortcomings so I use what is around to my advantage… For example, I know it is hard for me not to push myself when I go for a run, even if I want to do it slow or jog… sometimes, I need a slow run and to make sure I do, I chose a path where I just can’t go fast, like the trail…

I then take the time to enjoy the surroundings and at time I get a little bonus!!!

"Safeguards: Plan to fail." That is a good one! I guess this is what many of my sparkfriends do - they have a cheat day... I prefer to literally plan to fail - or know that I will go out, I ration myself during the day... then even with an "off range" I can always catch back the day or so... That is what I am doing now, after the BBQ, cocktails and treats (goat cheese, smoked gouda and sheep cheese paired with wine... just to mention this part!)

"Loophole-Spotting: identify and reject loopholes. When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation." In my mind, that is the excuse part! I think I can write a blog on this one alone... so I will keep it for later!

"Distraction: Wait fifteen minutes." How do you do with this one? For me, waiting is difficult because it means it will happen in 15 minutes... Getting distracted and actively doing something helps! Especially cleaning, and I get something nice out of it!

"Reward: The reward for a good habit is the good habit, and that’s the reward to give yourself. " Yeah... ok, I get this one... but I think including self-care in my schedule and making it my reward is my way to achieve this one. For instance, practicing yoga is a good habit and it is my reward because it makes me feel really good. An other example is the fact that taking the time to enter my recipes into spark people recipe allows me to share it with my daughter (she lives in a different province because of college)... so I share my good habits... but the reward is when she shares a picture of her food she prepared following my recipes!
(like my Red-Yellow and Green Salad! - Her picture is actually nicer than mine!)

"Treat: It’s easier to ask more of yourself when you’re giving more to yourself."
I bought new running shows!!!!

"Pairing: Only do X when you’re doing Y." Is she talking about wine and cheese here!?! LOL!!!

So, what do you think of these strategies to form good habits and avoid excuses? Do you have suggestions? Let me know...

* Link to the blog:
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nice blog!
    1400 days ago
    1401 days ago
    I love the pairing one (wine and cheese are a good pair, right?)

    1401 days ago
  • BA5454
    Thanks for the great blog--I agree with many things here. And the quote about moderation is one I've never heard before, but it makes sense. Will check out her website--thanks!
    1401 days ago
    Some good thoughts and strategies there. A good reminder to break bad habits and replace them with better ones. Thanks for sharing!
    1401 days ago
  • KONRAD695
    I'm a little of the same, and a little different.

    Like you, moderation DOESN'T WORK at all, not in the slightest smallest amount.

    Distraction doesn't work either, it actually makes it worse. If I really want/crave ice cream, then I should have some. I can lay in bed awake for hours telling myself no. then when I finally give in, I'm so weak that I'll eat a liter of it (easily).

    And No planning to fail or cheating. Planning and prepping for a big meal or food day just sets my cliff even higher to fall from.

    I've always work best from a hard line stand point, and that's my two cents for the day.

    emoticon Konrad
    1401 days ago
    Great strategies Julia! And I love your new running shoes!!! Keep up the great work myfriend!!!

    emoticon emoticon
    1401 days ago
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