Thursday, May 10, 2018

Forming Good Habits

Living with Kennedy's Disease and its progression is never easy, but I try to make it as comfortable as possible by eliminating bad habits and creating good ones.

Often, someone mentions he or she is not as disciplined as I am. The person wishes they could find the time to exercise regularly … or quit smoking … or lose weight … or meditate … whatever. My standard response is, “If I didn’t believe it helped, I probably wouldn’t do it.” 

I find it easier to maintain a habit when I see or feel results. In the case of exercising every day, I see and feel the results. When it comes to eating healthier foods, I feel the results.

Just as important, I find it easier to change a negative habit when I can see or feel the results. For example, I quit smoking over 40 years ago because I saw and felt the negative aspects of what smoking three packs a day had upon my life and my family. I quit ‘one cigarette at a time’.

When I begin to change a habit, I often do not see or feel the beneficial results initially. At that point, I am working on faith. I believe the change will be positive in some way. For example, a few years ago I gave up eating ice cream every day. I had been indulging in this habit for over 50 years. My belief was that I would generate less phlegm by eliminating this milk product from my diet.

I did not initially say, “I will never eat ice cream again.” I told myself each time I wanted ice cream that I would wait an hour and if I still wanted it then, I would have a bowl.” Guess what? In an hour, I was doing something else and did not even think about it.

After a few weeks, there was a noticeable reduction in thick phlegm. In the last couple of years, I have given up or greatly reduced phlegm-generating products. 

I continue to do every habit, no matter what it is, one day at a time. If I ever feel an overpowering desire to break a habit, I will do it after I have waited an hour.

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