Sunday, June 14, 2009

Anti-Patterns: Choosing our behavior

In the last post I talked about removing habitual forms in our life, and the importance of awareness in spotting our ways as they arise. The point was to see the behavior we don’t want, and then actively pick a different action.

In pattern replacement the idea is to swap one pattern for another. Analyze the form that holds us back and create a new activity that achieves our goal. For example if you are trying to lose weight, look at your eating habits. Do you tend to eat lots of salty snacks? Do you drink soda at work? Do you have a mid evening snack of cookies and then a late night snack of ice cream? It can be very difficult to make the right choices at the moment of hunger.

Rather than stare down that pint of Haagen-Dazs at 10:30 pm, you can set yourself up for success at earlier points.

  • Replace the early evening snack, with a fast paced early evening walk for thirty minutes. This will burn calories rather than ingest them. Further, exercise reduces the desire for snack food.
  • Don’t buy the food you don’t want to eat, rather replace that buying pattern with a buying pattern that supports your goal. Buy fresh fruit, the kinds you really love, and will gladly eat. It is easier to beat a craving at the grocery store on Sunday morning than in the freezer on Thursday night.
  • Soda at work breaks the cardinal rule; don’t drink your calories. Drink water or unsweetened ice tea. Diet soda has been linked to weight gain (Swithers & Davidson, Science Daily 2008)
  • Replace late night television with sleep. It will boost your energy, enable more time to eat a good breakfast or get in a morning walk. If this means losing a show you don’t want to miss, invest in DVR.

As with Pattern Removal, Pattern Replacement is about choices. We have the power to change our own lives. Nobody else has can or will do it for you. Practice awareness, see your actions, own them, and make your wise choices.

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