Heart Choices: The Power of Habit -->

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The Power of Habit

For many years, I cultivated the habit of rising early to exercise on my treadmill. I didn't think about it. I just did it.

But along the way, stress interfered, and my habit got thrown to the wayside. Instead of getting up early, I stayed in bed. Over time, I almost forgot. Instead, I gained twenty-four pounds and felt sluggish. My clothes didn't fit anymore. This didn't happen overnight. But slowly my lack of discipline showed up in ways I didn't like.

According to the dictionary, a habit is 'a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.'

Habits are things you do without thinking. In the book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he describes the habit loop. It starts with a trigger that signals your brain to begin an automated mode. The routine is what you do, feel, or think. And then there's the reward. What do you get out of the behavior? Remember that our brain tends towards the short term; instant gratification.

Habits can be negative such as overindulging in food, sweets, alcohol,  or drugs. I'm amazed that some people are shopaholics, always buying the latest fad or acquiring things to feel good about themselves. (I don't like shopping)

Habits can be positive such as eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, reading good books, and staying in touch with family and friends.

Establishing healthy habits makes things simple. So, it's important to take the time to think about what you do on a regular basis, especially in response to certain triggers.

For me, it took losing everything to break my healthy habits. Over a short period of time, my husband and I went from living a life of luxury to being totally broke with no home or savings. We sold everything that was worth anything to pay our bills and keep our heads above water. You can read more about my story here.

As I look back, I can certainly understand the shock and depression that enveloped my day to day existence. But life goes on and I had a choice to make. Would I settle into a new normal that wasn't very healthy? Or would I once again, establish new habits that would meet my long-term goal of being the best I could be, no matter what my age.

It took time but I am now back to my normal weight. I lost the twenty-four pounds and can fit into my clothes easily. I don't have to try on three outfits because my slacks are too tight. I can even buy things online to avoid shopping.

I checked email this morning and received a timely newsletter from Rob Hatch. He's a business coach, President & Co-founder of Owner Media Group, Inc. His partner is Chris Brogan, a social media marketing consultant. My husband and I worked with him on a project a number of years ago.

Anyway, in Rob's newsletter, he wrote about 6 simple habits. Here's his list:

  • Start
  • Finish
  • Eat
  • Sleep 
  • Move
  • Connect
His message was about simplifying. How do you start and finish your day? Eating and sleeping come next. Getting enough sleep and eating healthy can change the way you feel. Moving, no matter what form, can change your body chemistry.  Go for a hike, ride your bike, take a brisk walk early in the morning or stretch out on your mat. It really does change how you feel. Rob's last point was to connect. That is such a good habit as we need one another. Sometimes when you're stressed, it can be all too easy to isolate yourself. Instead, talk to a confidant or exercise with a friend.  

So, what about you?
  • What are your habits? 
  • Do you have any unhealthy habits you might need to reconsider? 
  • What triggers prompt you to lapse into behaviors that may not be the best? 
  • Have you established any good habits? 
  • How did you deal with the old triggers? 
I'd love to hear about your struggles or your successes in the area of habits. After all, it's a journey and we can help one another. 

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. What a great post! I have some really good habits but also a couple that I need to break. Thanks for the inspiration! Hugs!

    1. Thanks Lea, for taking the time to read my post. I think we can all use some time to review our habits. I'm in the same boat as you, my friend.

  2. This was very timely for me.......trying to work on some very simple basic habits, not as easy as I would think. This was encouraging (and a good reminder)that I need to stick with it.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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