When you have a two-year-old, you learn quickly the value of redirection. When they are getting into something that they shouldn’t, you have to tell them no, but also offer them something different to do to get their attention on something else.
We adults are no different. Especially when it comes to breaking bad habits.
I find that if I have something specific in mind that I am hungry for and it is in my house, I can think of nothing else until I satisfy that desire. Even if it is a few of the new white chocolate M&Ms, which leads to a few more, and a few more until the bag is gone. Which is NOT a good idea.
So, basically, I have to redirect my (obsessive) thoughts to something else. If I truly am hungry and not just “snacky” I can offer myself a healthier alternative. If I am just wanting to eat for the sake of eating, I have to do something else. That may take the form of reading (if I am holding a book, I can’t hold food), knitting or crocheting (if I am working with my hands I can’t hold food), playing a game with my kids, taking a walk or run, tackling something on my to-do list, or a number of other things.
That doesn’t mean it is always easy to redirect my thinking. If you have ever had a two-year-old, you know this is true. First of all I have to actually choose to redirect my thinking and not open the candy cabinet and reach for the M&M’s. And even when I do choose to not eat them (or something equally less than healthy), sometimes it takes multiple attempts to get my mind going a different direction. And to be perfectly honest, it is hard to keep making that choice and keep redirecting my thoughts.
But in the end, I feel much better not eating the bag of M&M’s and I have also accomplished something else as well. Proving to myself that I am the one that can and will continue making the decision to be healthy, even when it is hard.
How hard is it for you to redirect your thinking when it comes to less than healthy habits?