It's not enough to eliminate a bad habit. If you just "stop it," then all you'd have is an empty hole in your life. Unless you put something else in that hole, then you'd just put that bad habit right back into your life.
Think about taking a bad tire off your car. If you don't have a better tire to replace the bad tire, what would your choices be? Either put the bad tire back on the car or put the spare tire on, neither of which are long-term solutions.
When you try to get rid of a bad habit by simply eliminating it, you usually can't function well. All you're thinking about is not participating in that bad habit. But when the urge becomes too great, you would usually fall back into that habit. Why? Because you don't know what else to do! If you can't participate in your old habit, then what can you do as a replacement? If there is no replacement, then you'll be back to your old ways. Then when you revert back to your old self, you feel like you could function again. A car may have a bad tire, but at least it could drive. Not having a tire means that the car can't go anywhere.
Think about people going on diets. All diets usually require some kind of elimination, and the stuff that's eliminated is the stuff that makes us feel alive! We usually don't think about "replacement" when it comes to diets. We think that we just have to give up something, which is why we always fail at diets.
Think about a low-carb diet that requires you to severely limit sweets, baked goods, cereals, breads, pasta, etc. These high-carb meals make us feel good, but when we have to cut them out, we're left feeling depressed, moody, and empty. In no time, we'll go back to Dunkin Donuts.
But instead of simply cutting out these foods, we need to focus on replacing them with better options. Just recently, I replaced all the baked goods that I love with fruit. One day, I was in Walmart craving carbs. I was about to get my favorite, 50-cent pies and I usually get two of them. But instead, I went for fruit and spent less money. I've felt satisfied and healthier. Instead of engaging in baked goods, I went for nature's candy.
In your life, you need to think more about "replacement" rather than "elimination." Simply cutting something from your life and not replacing it with something else is like trying to drive a car with a missing tire.
If you decide to eliminate the television from your life, what will you replace that emptiness with? What, are you just going to sit around staring into the ceiling being bored? All you'd be thinking about is how you wished you had television. When you eliminated the T.V., you have to do something else. If you just played on Facebook instead of watching television, it's like replacing a bad tire with another bad tire.
Now, if you decide to start reading books or taking online courses, then it's like replacing a bad tire with a better tire.
Remember that whatever actions you've been participating in for a lengthy time has established a residence in your life. This activity has lived in your house and has been paying you rent. You just can't kick a tenant out of your house if he's been paying you rent, because you based your life on that income. Get rid of the tenant and you loose lots of money! But if you replace that tenant with a better tenant, not only could you continue getting rental income, but you could possibly get MORE rental income. Or in other words, switching one tenant to another tenant avoids putting any disruption in your life.
In the same way, you have based your life around this activity. It's all you know. You can't just kick it out. You need to find something else that is at least equally gratifying as your old activity. Otherwise, you would simply disrupt your life by eliminating one thing without replacing it with something else.
Now, is this to say to continue your old activity until you find a better replacement? Not at all. But once you kicked out the bad habit, you need to quickly find a replacement that gives you as much satisfaction as your bad habit did. Then the more you engage in your new habit, the less desire you'd have for your old habit.
Why is it that some people would gain their weight back after losing the weight? All they did was get rid of their weight, but the new body that they have doesn't look all that impressive. Maybe you're now super skinny and look sick. Maybe you have lots of saggy skin. Maybe you just don't look right. So being unimpressed with your new bod and being unimpressed with the diet and exercise regime that got you that body, you revert back to your old ways.
But what if after losing the weight, you started lifting weights and getting more toned and muscular? You'd be less likely to revert back to your old ways, because you have replaced an overweight body with a muscular body. Instead of just dropping weight, you replaced a poor body image with a very nice body image. Instead of looking like you just starved yourself, now you look like you actually work out. When other people start admiring your new image, it would be hard to go back to looking like your old self.
Don't eliminate. Replace! Do a switch. Change what you do. Get on a different road instead of driving off the road. Change your focus instead of putting blinders on. If you spend your energy trying to avoid something, you will be worn out. But if you simply redirect yourself, you won't be so concerned about eliminating an activity. The activity will, in essence, eliminate itself as long as you are spending your energy doing other things.
Have you ever seen someone who was so overweight that you wonder how they manage to stay alive? Of course, you would naturally prejudge them, thinking to yourself that they are lazy gluttons with no sense of self worth.
The more I thought about these folks, the more I realize that food and laziness aren't their problem. And no, it's not a thyroid issue (I've had a client who had NO thyroid, and she still managed to lose weight). The root cause of their problem is that they take comfort in the wrong things -- and in this case, their comfort is in food. This means that if they are feeling depressed, angry, or fearful, they would turn to food as their means of comfort.
Many of you could relate. Food is your source of comfort. Whether you're angry, happy, bored, miserable, or anxious, food is like your marijuana: you turn to it to get high. It's your means of escape.
And you know what happens when you continue to use food as your comfort? You eventually will die.
We all have taken comfort in the wrong things...
The wrong comfort tools could never completely satisfy us, and they always end up hurting us one way or another. There is nothing wrong in seeking comfort. We all need something to go to for escape. But we need to be careful about whom or what we're running to for comfort. Your source of comfort will either build you up or make you into a junkie.
When your activity for comfort simply numbs your pain, then you're a junkie. Your comfort source does nothing else for you than to desensitize you for a few moments. But once you come back to reality and start feeling pain again, you'll go right back to the drug that kills the pain. This source of comfort is no good for you. This kind of comfort will eventually ruin your life.
However, when your activity for comfort is actually productive, then you're building yourself up. It's like going for a run whenever you're feeling stressed. The running is keeping your body in shape. It's an activity that will stabilize your mood for a long period of time so that you won't feel the need to run every 30 minutes! With numbing activities, your mood would be stabilized for a few minutes and then you'll need to go back to that numbing activity again for another "fix."
Think about writing in a journal whenever you're angry. For one, writing is soothing to the soul! That is, if you're a writer. Two, writing could help you solve some of your problems. Writing is productive. It builds you up. But say that your source of comfort is playing video games. What are games doing for you? Nothing. You would only feel peace whenever you're playing a game, but once you turn off that Xbox, you're back to feeling doom and gloom again.
Your source of comfort will either sustain your moods for a long period, or they will sustain your moods only as long as you're participating in that comfort activity.
You want your source of comfort to be stable. You want it to make you into a better person. You want it to help you get through the day. If your source of comfort cannot accomplish any of these, then it's the wrong source of comfort.
Let's go back to the overweight person example. That person would always go to food for comfort, and food only provides temporary highs. Once that food hits your belly, you're good for, maybe, another hour or so. Then you're back in the fridge, or tearing through the cabinets looking for something sweet, or searching for loose change for the vending machine.
Before you know it, you'll be broke, very obese, sick, and you'll be in and out of the hospital.
But here's the thing about bad comfort sources: you know that they are bad for you. No overweight person (with good sense) will tell you that eating food all day is good for you. But it's the only source of comfort that works for you. It's the only source that you know. Whenever you were in trouble, that comfort source was always there for you. What in the world could you replace that very reliable comfort source with??
So, now is the time to start looking around for better comfort sources. It's time to...
It's time to start looking for comfort sources that are productive. It's time to stop masking your symptoms with drugs and start getting to the root of the symptoms. Life won't be the way it ought to be as long as your comfort sources are making you into a junkie.
There's a guy in my church who had lost about 120 lbs, and he did it rather quickly -- maybe within a year's time. He limited his carb intake. I have seen him make a wonderful transformation!
But then he started eating "normally" again and gained back 50 lbs. He has switched back to limiting his carbs and admits that he may need to permanently do this in order to keep his weight under control. He's once again losing weight.
He saw what worked, and he saw what happened when he stopped doing what worked. Unfortunately, whatever weight-loss program that helped you drop the weight would be the program you'd have to live with forever -- unless you find a good substitute for it. What many people fail to see is that you can't just go on some temporary weight-loss journey, drop the weight, and then stop what you're doing. If the program works, you need to stick with it, even if you have to stick with it until you die.
Before you do anything, ask yourself if you're willing to do it forever. Whatever results you get from your activity would last as long as you continue with that activity. Once you stop the activity, you would reverse the results.
Think about your teeth. They don't just fall out because you're old. They fall out because you don't take care of them. You need to brush and floss your teeth forever if you want to keep them forever. Otherwise, once you stop your dental hygienic practices, say good-bye to your precious gums and teeth!
Think about your job. Once you quit, the income stops. As long as you're working, the income continues. Funny how that works, huh?
Think about your vehicle. If you want to keep using it, you will have to maintain it for as long as you have it. Once you stop doing that, sooner or later your car would just not start up. The mechanic would look at it and suggest that you buy another car!
When we start making New Year's resolutions, we don't consider that we have to commit to those resolutions forever. One of the main resolutions is weight-loss. Good! But, you have to commit to that goal forever, unless you want to lose 50 lbs and gain it back. Whatever you do to lose the weight needs to be done to maintain that weight while you live. Once you stop, everything goes back to "factory mode."
Some time ago, I've noticed that when I don't participate in cardio exercises for a long time, my knees would get stiff. I mean, they would get so stiff that it would HURT to squat down and pick up something. But once I started doing cardio again, my knees would feel awesome! I could squat down with no pain! I guess cardio would be in my life forever if I want my knees to feel good everyday.
Strength is something you don't get to keep unless you're doing strength-training exercises. I remember what it was like to be weak. When I was in middle school, I was so weak and chubby that I couldn't climb the rope in P.E. class. I had NO upper body strength. Today, doing pull-ups, push-ups, and planks are no problems, but ONLY because I continually do strength-training exercises. Once I stop doing those exercises, it would be middle school all over again. And when I get old, I'd be one of those types who would fall down and can't get back up.
Back in EMS, we got several calls of individuals who had fallen and couldn't get back up. Their upper body strength was gone. One poor woman fell in the bathroom and laid on the floor the entire night! All her strength was gone.
Whatever you do to get something, you need to keep doing it if you want to keep it.
Stop thinking that you're going to "try it out." If you try it and it works, then you need to be willing to do it forever. There is NOTHING in this world that you could do temporarily and expect to keep the results that you've obtained from it.
Even the very language that you speak would go away if you stop speaking it. One lady at the gym I work at is from Puerto Rico and her first language is Spanish. However, since she has been in the United States for so long and deeply immersed in English, she is starting to lose touch with her first language. One of my old college buddies told me that he doesn't even speak his first language anymore. He lost it!
What is it that you want? Now, are you willing to make a permanent commitment to keep it? Whether it's weight-loss, good health, the ability to speak a second or third language, or to make a certain amount of money per month, you need to permanently devote yourself to the activities that enabled you to obtain these things.
Commitment is eternal. You either do it forever or you don't do it. The good news is that if what you're doing actually works, then it will always work as long as you do it. The bad news is that unless you could replace your activity with something else that's comparable, then you will lose EVERYTHING once you stop that activity.
Before you jump in the water, ask yourself if you want to live in it. Before you fly, ask yourself if you want to stay airborne. Before you start that marathon, ask yourself if you're willing to stay in the race until you reach the very end -- the very end of your life, that is. Don't get involved unless you're willing to finish it out.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.