When complacency sets in, Recognize and Visualize

January 9, 2020      Health Tips, Motivation, Self Care

You have been doing well for a while. Good for you! You’ve been doing well with meal planning, eating healthy, working out, avoiding the community snack table at work and avoiding alcohol. Two weeks of hard work and constant awareness of everything you do.

Then one day you forgot to prepare your lunch. You think to yourself, “that’s ok, I got this” so you go out to eat with intentions to get something healthy and get right back to packing lunches tomorrow.

And you do! You get something healthy and you’re proud of yourself! So maybe you pack a lunch the next day and maybe you don’t. But because you had a healthy lunch out, the desire to pack gets less.

This is where it starts.

Over-confidence sets in and you assume that you can start going out more with the intention of eating healthy. But one thing leads to another and you slowly catch yourself right back into old habits you’ve been trying so hard to change.

How do we avoid this slippery slope in the first place? Awareness. Catch yourself! At the first sign of seeing an old habit slip in just once, stop and see it. Don’t judge it with guilt or deem yourself as a “failure once again” but just see the old pattern as it was. As it is now. Ask yourself what you want. Remind yourself of what goal you set for yourself 4 weeks ago and see yourself back in the habit of getting there.

Constantly remind yourself that it’s the everyday habit that will make that result. Strive to be the habit as opposed the end goal. The end goal is great but it does not create action. The habit and the act of doing create your goal.

This is where visualization is a great practice. The art of visualization is so powerful if done correctly. It helps form new neuropathways in your brain, creating an easier route for doing the habit. The habit or behavior becomes more familiar in your brain first so when it comes to taking action, it seems easier. The more you visualize the act, the more your brain begins to recall that image which makes it easier for you to stay on task. This lessens the neuropathway from the old habit you’re wanting to change.

Developing new neuropathway takes time. The memory of the old pattern is still there so you need to be careful. When life happens and things become difficult, your brain so easily falls back to old behaviors and patterns because it’s comfortable. It’s like smelling your mom’s cooking. It’s comforting and brings you back to your childhood. Old habits can be comforting despite knowing they are not working for us.

Work to see yourself back on track. If you notice you didn’t pack your lunch, visualize yourself going home and packing lunch for the next day. Don’t just plan on it. Visualize it. Get specific in your mind. What do you visualize packing? What are you wearing? Who is home? What conversation will you be having? Visualize the habit.

Don’t stop. We all have moments when we get overly confident and complacent. Recognize it for what it is. Stop judging yourself for getting off track “again” and start seeing yourself as the person who just gets right back to a better habit.

Act like the person you want to be. Do what that person does. Be the person you want to be.