Even if you've already broken them, that's no reason to throw in the towel. You can still pick yourself up and create smart habits to better your life.
Many of you are seeking, for instance, to shed excess weight and release such health-harming habits as over-consuming sugar, coffee or diet soda. Many of you want to quit procrastinating, smoking, being habitually late, obsessively checking emails or biting your nails.Before you begin to make positive changes, it's helpful to focus on the Benefits of Breaking Your Bad Habits or what I call “Babits™.
Let's take the case of quitting sugar. As I learned back in 1998 when I cut out out sweeteners and refined carbs on doctor’s orders, ALL 44 of my baffling ailments, from crushing fatigue to brain fog, completely disappeared, as I recounted in my book SUGAR SHOCK!,
For instance, licking sweets (pun intended) and other health-robbing substances and unproductive habits from caffeine overloading to diet soda guzzling can help you to:
- Shed excess weight,
- Get consistent energy,
- Boost your moods,
- Calm you down,
- Become more spiritual and centered,
- Increase your passion and productivity,
- Reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer or hypoglycemia,
- Manage these conditions, if you have them,
- Rev up your libido,
- Reduce your PMS symptoms,
- And so much more!
In short, when you remove sugar and other negative patterns, you leave room for positive activities to take their place and you can begin to get a Life That Rocks!™. Here are 10 smart steps, which can help you break free of your babits™ (bad habits) so you can to replace them with smart habits.
1. Congratulate Yourself. To begin your journey to health and wellness, I invite you to pat yourself on the back. You may wonder why you would want to do that, especially if you’ve spent years abusing your body. You want to applaud yourself, because the mere fact that you’re beginning to look at your sugar addiction or other bad habit is big! The first step to break away from sweets, refined carbs and other babits™ is to NOT beat up on yourself. Granted, you may have gobbled or guzzled high-calorie nutrient-poor sugary foods and drinks over the years, but now is a time to be gentle with yourself, to treat yourself with compassion and to take pride that you’re taking the much-needed first step to treat your body with love and care. Go ahead: Lavish some praise and kudos on yourself now that you’re finally confronting the bad habit that’s been plaguing you—perhaps for years. Share your excitement in your journal or in a heart-to-heart conversation with a loved one. Then imagine that you’re at the starting line of a race like a runner athlete and that you’re ready to make a massive positive shift. Please also remember to acknowledge and celebrate your every little accomplishment. For example, when you make it through a meal without sugary foods, diet soda or caffeine—or if you at least consume less of them—take pride and applaud yourself. After all, each time you make healthier choices, you get closer to more energy, a trimmer body and a better life.
2. Move With Your Mind & Mantra. Before you begin to try to kick your sugar addiction or another babit™, it’s time to embark on Seven Smart Starter Habits (through Step #8) to cement your confidence that good health, inner calm and new patterns await you. That’s because whenever you seek to remove an old habit and replace it with a new one, your work begins before you even try to make changes. In other words, before you begin to “diet” or make important lifestyle changes, you want to convince your mind that you CAN succeed. Begin each day knowing in the depth of your being that you’ve already licked your unhealthy habit. To get both your subconscious and conscious mind to accept that you’ve succeeded—or are on the path to succeeding—create an easy-to-repeat phrase, affirmation or mantra such as “I, [Your Name], choose only nourishing foods and drinks, which keep me slim, toned and healthy.” Repeat your positive statement at least 30 times a day. Make sure to say it in the morning, right after you wake up, and in the evening, before you go to sleep. Repeating it about 10 to 20 times before meals also can help. Back in 1998, when I finally kicked sugar, repeating my mantra enabled me to succeed. Now, my clients find this technique effective, too.
3. Watch Home “Movies.” While you repeat your affirmation to help you get rid of your babit™, you also want to watch a movie in your mind, a technique that is used by some of the most successful people in the world. Simply step outside yourself to play and replay a visualization where you’re the heroine or hero, who easily, happily and gracefully says “No, thank you” to sugar and other energy-sapping substances. At the same time that you See Yourself Free, witness yourself choosing only nourishing, nurturing foods, beverages and activities. Watch your “movie” at least 10 to 20 times a day, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If you do this before meals, you’ll find that you “automatically” make smarter food choices. This is another tactic that my clients use to great success.
4. Create a Vision Board. In recent years, especially since The Secret was released, a number of accomplished people have raved about the wonders of creating a visual representation of their goals, from finally getting a dream body to finding a dream house or a cherished soulmate. Since breaking free of your sugar addiction or other babits™ may seem challenging, you can help strengthen your resolve and make your dream a reality by creating a vision board. If kicking sugar is your goal, select photos and images of a slim you savoring only quality foods. If you desire to conquer your caffeine habit, make sure to include phrases and pictures of you enjoying water or herb tea. To learn more, I highly recommend the book, The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz.
5. Find a Hero. Much has been said and written about the value of finding someone to emulate. For your purposes, it’s ideal to select one to three people, who’ve wildly succeeded at something, whether it’s quitting a sugar addiction, becoming a bestselling author or creating an amazing product. Learn about our heroes’ lives and how, at times, before they succeeded, they may have been on the verge of failure. Whenever you feel discouraged and disheartened, remember the setbacks and tremendous odds that your mentors overcame.
6. Motivate with the Masters. One of the most inspiring activities you can undertake when you seek to do away with a babit™ (bad habit) and replace it with a better one is to rely on books and passages from the masters. For instance, when I kicked my sugar habit nearly a dozen years ago, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, You Can if You Think You Can by Norman Vincent Peale, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra often encouraged me and enabled me to stay my sugar-free course. (I would have immersed myself in The Secret, but the book and movie hadn’t been released yet.) To this day, no matter what I’m facing, I find inspiration in these and other books, as well as in power cards, audio replays and CDs from such motivating masters as Louise Hay, Cheryl Richardson and Wayne Dyer. If the Bible is special to you, then pick it up often, too, to study inspiring sections. I cannot overstate the power in letting the Masters motivate you to positive action.
7. Tune Up with a Theme Song. You know how loving partners always fondly talk about “the song” that first drew them together and the melody, which always brings them good cheer? They imbue their “theme song” with power and pleasure, right? Now, I invite you to select a tune that symbolizes the fact that you are happily “breaking up” with your sugar addiction or other bad habit. The musical piece—which you can play over and over again—can lift you to move mountains, so to speak. Often, while writing lectures, articles and books to help serve you, for inspiration, I’ll repeatedly play (as I am now) such rousing, uplifting tunes as “Time to Say Good-Bye” with Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. See if their dazzling tune speaks to you or find another that becomes your kick-butt, kick-babit theme song.
8. Warm Up Your Wise Guide. Often, my clients or attendees at lectures admit that they know exactly what healthy foods and activities they should eat and which counter-productive substances they’d be wide to skip, but, they bemoan, inevitably, they cave their supposed cravings and make bad choices. Those feelings of certain failure are totally understandable, especially given the negative forces that constantly fight against you very day—indeed, TV commercials, print ads and visual stimuli for junk food or other counter-productive pursuits bombard you just about everywhere you go. That’s why it’s helpful to start each day by gently going within. In the morning, try to take a 5-minute-to-30-minute breathing break or mindfulness meditation time out to Warm up your Wise Guide. If you prefer, pray to G-d for guidance or listen to a creative visualization CD. When you tap into your highest good every morning, chances are better that you’ll make better choices and pick optimal, nourishing foods and activities. In addition, before you begin your meal, take a short breathing break (of one or more minutes), too, to get guidance from your wise, well-meaning guide. In particular, before you select foods, drinks, substances or activities, ask your Wise Guide, “What does my body, heart and soul really need and crave?” A great way to learn how to tap into your Wise Guide is to listen regularly to Cheryl Richardson's wonderful Tuning In CD.
9. Forget the Fakes and Get Real. Whenever people want to lose weight or cut out candies, crackers, coffee or other unnatural substances, they almost always ask me, “Connie, can I at least have low-calorie foods or drinks with artificial sweeteners?” Let me answer this question with a question. Why would you want to use imitation substances when compelling research shows that doing so may not be safe? Indeed, some compelling studies show that the mere taste of something sweet—even if it’s sugar-free—can trigger sugar cravings. What’s more, research suggests that you can gain weight -- yes, you heard me right -- by consuming sugar-free foods and beverages. So why play with fire, so to speak? Instead of consuming fake stuff, it's best to eat real foods such as vegetables and fruits that grow on trees or come out of the ground.
9. Power up with PFFW. When you go on a diet or make other lifestyle changes, now is not the time to starve yourself. In fact, many experts agree that when you eat and drink about five to six mini-meals containing colorful, high-quality foods and beverages, you will lose weight, and your desire for nutrient-lacking foods takes a hike. So make sure to nourish your wonderful body with ample, modest amounts of protein (P), superior fats (F), fiber (F) and purified water (W). So, for instance, throughout the day, you’ll eat colorful, preferably organic, pesticide-free vegetables and low-sugar fruits, nuts such as almonds, a little olive oil or ground flax seed, whole grains (many thrive on gluten-free), seeds and grass-raised, free-range poultry or uncontaminated fish.
10. Seek Support. Since millions around the world frequently fill up their bodies and time with junk food and other horrible habits, you’d be smart to seek out health-minded mentors and colleagues, who have either already succeeded or who are also licking their babits™ (bad habits). In addition, make sure to enlist the backing of your loved ones before you aim to conquer your sugar addiction or other bad habit (babit™). By the way, you’re, of course, invited to connect with us on Facebook or Ning to get support, encouragement and motivation. Just join us at http://www.Facebook.com/SmartHabitsFans and http://www.StopSugarShock.com.What in It for You? Of course, you may be tempted to give up at times as you begin your adventure to triumph over your sugar addiction or other horrible habit, bear in mind that breaking free brings you benefits so that you can get a Life That Rocks™.
Dear reader, please know that I have confidence in you. No matter what happened in the past, you can succeed now. And when you do lick your sugar addiction or other bad habit, please write to me so that together, we can share your story with the world and inspire others to follow in your footsteps.I invite you to be glad that it's “Time to Say Good-Bye” now to your bad habits. Just get encouraged and moved to action by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.
Connie Bennett is author of the bestselling book SUGAR SHOCK! with Stephen Sinatra, M.D. She is a former "sugar addict," who is now known as the “Smart Habits Girl” (www.Twitter.com/SmartHabitsGirl.) After she kicked sugar and refined carbs in 1998, she became more energetic, cheerful and focused. Connie is now devoted to helping people worldwide overcome their bad habits (what she calls babits™) and achieve amazing goals and dreams so they can have a Life That Rocks!™ Connie is also a motivating speaker, certified holistic health counselor, life coach, journalist and media guest. Sign up for Connie’s Connie’s Motivating Morsels ezine at www.SugarShock.com.