Are you familiar with the replacement theory of habits? A lot of people are looking for quick fixes. They want to feel better, be thinner, make more money TOMORROW. But too many times their goals are too general and big.
How many times have you heard someone say “I will quit eating all sweet” “I want to lose 20 lbs?”
Research tells us that in order for a goal to become our reality, it has to be a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Revelant, and Tim-Based.
So, instead of making large goals that you will give up on, make smaller goals and use the replacement theory.
What is the replacement theory?
It helps you make smaller but important choices every day that help you get further to your bigger goals.
So, instead of “I will cut out all sweets” say “I will replace at least half of my snacks this week with fruit.”
Instead of saying “I’m going to exercise more,” start with replacing how much time you spend sitting: when watching a show, march in place or do standing stretches for 3 minutes at a time.
You can replace a cookie jar with a fruit bowl.
Don’t say “I’m going to eat healthy from now on.”
It just isn’t going to work. You have to be specific.
You have to REPLACE what you’ve been doing with a good habit.
There are a lot of people who want to replace unhappiness and stress with food, especially with foods that are bad for your body, that are filled with sugar, fat, and more. These foods make us “happy” in the short term, but they make you crave more similar foods.
What can you do to replace the unhealthy behavior of managing stress by eating?
- Go on a walk. Call a friend to go with you! Walking outdoors is a Covid-safe activity, and research shows that walking outside increases vitamin D and T-cell production which help the immune system. Walking is low stress on your joints, and being outside can improve mood, focus and creativity. It can also boost your energy levels.
- Meditate. There are so many different ways to meditate. You can use a free app, take a class, or just spend 5 minutes quietly in nature or in your room.
- Journal. Create the habit of keeping a Gratitude Journal. Write in it every night before going to sleep or as soon as you wake up (or do this both times). This way you are training your subconscious mind (that never goes to sleep) to focus on being grateful. You can learn more about creating an attitude of gratitude in my blog here: https://simplehealthylivingcommunity.org/an-antidote-for-depression-frustration-and-sadness/
- Take a warm bath with epsom salts. Epsom salts are proven not only to calm the body, but to help detox too. Epsom salts can help with arthritis pain, psoriasis, soreness, swelling, and inflammation.
These are all excellent replacements for habits that increase toxins or negative thinking and that make us feel bad. Want more ideas for replacing bad habits? Check out my blog here on another good one, a mental fast: https://simplehealthylivingcommunity.org/is-there-such-a-thing-as-mental-fasting/