Why do we have a hard time following through with our decision to eat a healthier diet? In my book The “Plan A” Diet, 12 barriers to change that I’ve observed over the years have been listed. One of those barriers is habits. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Habits become an issue when the dependency on a pattern of unhealthy eating prevents you from being willing to make changes. Grocery store purchases, fast food joints, and foods associated with certain traditions or memories can become so routine they’re hard to give up and you’re unsure how to replace them.
We’re all creatures of habit to some degree, but if the attachment to an unhealthy pattern has become a sort of security blanket, you may need to examine the importance you’re placing on your established, unhealthy habits.
Habits and routines can be a key factor to SUCCESS when it comes to adopting a new lifestyle. After all, there’s nothing wrong with being a creature of habit – when those habits are promoting good health. The goal is to redirect your energy toward the positive habits rather than the negative ones, and the best way to do that is by implementing a new routine.
Write down what your new routine will look like. For breakfast, you’ll have oatmeal with fruit instead of a donut or a bacon sandwich. When running errands, you’ll pack a cooler with hummus roll-ups, quinoa salad, roasted sweet potatoes, or fruit instead of stopping for fast food or making an unhealthy impulse purchase. For a sweet treat at night, you’ll choose home-made raspberry sorbet instead of dairy-based ice cream.
When we perform the same actions repeatedly, day after day, the need for conscious attention is reduced and the activity becomes second nature.
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out. Then you will be able to deal with it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13, NIRV)