Rockin’ & Talkin’ – Changing bad habits for good

Zee Chevalier's monthly report from the Clinton Seniors' Association.

Autumn officially starts on Sept. 23. Clinton Seniors lunch is at the Cariboo Lodge on Sept. 3.

Sept. 13 is National Grandparents Day. How many people know that?

The regular General meeting of the Clinton Seniors Association is Sept. 17. The meeting will follow a Potluck lunch at the Clinton Seniors Centre  217 Smith Ave. Plan to be there!

The September Foot Clinic has been cancelled. The next opportunity to have foot care is Oct. 16 and 17. To book an appointment or to discuss your foot health call Colleen Thom, RN  CAFCN at 250-374-1735.

Keeping to our year of resolutions, this month let us consider identifying bad habits and breaking them. Focus only on one or two behaviours you would like to alter. It may help you to track how many times a day your bad habit happens. Your goal isn’t to judge yourself harshly and feel guilty about doing something unhealthy or unproductive. The only goal is to be aware of when it happens and how often it happens. A pattern may emerge that will help you to deal with it.

Breaking bad habits takes time and effort, but mostly it takes perseverance. Many people who end up breaking a bad habit fail multiple times before they finally make the new behaviour work.  You might not have success right away. Be patient. Don’t beat yourself up if you get off track  –  just start all over again!

Ask yourself some questions: When does this bad habit actually happen? How many times do you do it each day? Who are you with? and What triggers the behaviour and causes it to start?

Think of this habit. When did it first appear? Why? Remember when you didn’t have it. You just need to return to your former self. Think – “I don’t need to quit smoking. I’ll go back to being a non-smoker.” “I don’t have to transform myself into being a health freak. I just need to return to  being healthy.”

Use the “but” word to overcome negative self-talk. “I’m overweight and out of shape, but I could be slimmer a few months from now.” “I’m a failure, but everybody fails sometimes.”

Cut out as many triggers as you can. If you smoke when you drink, then don’t go to the bar. If you munch on cookies when they’re in the house, stop having cookies on hand.

Pairing up with someone often helps. Quit stuff together. Since you’re both trying to diet, hold each other accountable and celebrate your victories together. Knowing that someone else expects you to be better is a powerful motivator.

You don’t have to ditch all your old friends, but surrounding yourself with people who live the way you want to live can be a positive influence.

Visualize yourself succeeding. Visualize building a new identity. For example, if you smoke when you get stressed, then it’s not a good idea to “just stop smoking” when that happens. Instead, you should try to come up with a different way to deal with stress, like taking a few deep breaths or having a cup of tea and insert that new behaviour instead of having a cigarette.

Recognizing the cause of your bad habits is crucial to overcoming them. All the habits we have – good or bad – are in our lives for a reason. Sometimes stress and boredom drive bad habits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can teach yourself new and healthy ways to deal which you can then substitute in place of your bad habits.

Both good and bad habits are formed over time and building new habits will also take time.

Happy Birthday wishes to Diane Moulton Sept. 15.

Zee Chevalier