What are Habits

Every habit starts with a psychological pattern called a "habit loop," which is a three-part process: 1. A cue, or trigger 2. The routine/behavior itself 3. The reward, which helps to remember the "habit loop.”

Some habits are positive (brushing teeth, eating on time, etc), They allow the brain to somewhat shut down so you can devote mental activity to something else. Others are less so.

There are four stages to changing a health behavior: 1. CONTEMPLATION "I'm thinking about it." 2. PREPARATION "I have made up my mind." 3. ACTION "I have started to make changes." 4. MAINTENANCE "I have a new routine."

Don’t create too many habits; be sure to add variety and stay motivated. Mix up your routine with new activities, physical activity buddies, foods, recipes, and rewards.

Stretch it out

Let’s face it as a society we spend a lot of time sitting these days.  Our bodies were not designed for the sedentary lifestyles we are leading.  Computers have changed the way we work.  Most of it is for the better except for the sitting. Neck and shoulder stiffness, lower back pain, stiff leg muscles and tight joints, are all common complaints these days.  All of those aches and pains are our bodies telling us that something is wrong and that we need to move and stretch. 

Come up with a plan – after every hour of sitting whether it is at work or home, take a few minutes and get up and stretch, your body will thank you for it. My plan is that if I am watching TV, I have to stretch during the commercials (with the number of commercials you will have plenty of time to stretch). If I am at work, I set the alarm on my watch for every hour to move and stretch.  A few important things to remember are: To hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds, not to bounce and don’t aim for pain, just stretch and hold until you feel tension.

Keep in mind that stretching is not only good for the body but also the mind. In a short amount of time, you will feel calmer, clearer and recharged. Who does not need that these days?   So get up right now – and stretch.

Texting and Driving

1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.

Contrary to popular belief, the human brain cannot multitask. Driving and talking on a cell phone are two thinking tasks that involve many areas of the brain. Instead of processing both simultaneously, the brain rapidly switches between two cognitive activities.

Physically looking at a phone is not the only dangerous feature of cell phone use. The National Safety Council reports that in simulated driving tests, those subjects that were asked to carry on a cell phone conversation were so distracted that they went unaware of some traffic signals.

Fight the Impulse

Picture this, you are sitting on the couch, feeling kind of bored. Up pops a message that there is a HUGE sale on shoes on Amazon.com. Odds are if you are like so many people (me included) you will just click on over and take a look. You were not even in the market for new shoes but why not! Next thing you know you have 2 new pair of shoes in your cart. Press the button and they are on the way to your home and you never had to get off the couch! It’s so easy if you have an Amazon Prime account, you don’t even have to open your wallet and shopping is free. Until you get the bill ☹ UGG- then you have to pay with interest if you don’t pay the total amount. This is where the tracking your spending comes into play. If you write everything down that you spend, you will think twice before you push the button.

I was talking to a friend that had been shopping at TJ Maxx. She went in with something specific in mind but just kept picking up items as she shopped along. But before she reached the check out lane, she paused and looked at everything in her cart and put back everything that she did not come in for. Now, that does not sound like fun for the store personal but just pausing for a moment saved my friend a lot of money.

I realize that not everyone is an impulse shopper but for those of us who are, tracking and pausing are things we have to do.

I grew up in the day when my mother used to pay for everything with a check. When I was young, I could not quite grasp the concept of the checking account. I would ask her for money, she would say she didn’t have any- My reply was just write a check!

Wouldn’t that be great if only that was how it worked! Just Remember to Track and Pause!!

Stepping out of your comfort zone

Research shows that routine can be healthy and important to everyday health. You save time and reduce stress by skipping the need to make constant decisions. It helps us remember to brush our teeth, take the dog for a daily walk, eat and sleep at consistent times, etc.

However, routine can also create bad habits and ruts. We may find ourselves stuck in a negative or boring situation simply because we are too comfortable with the routine to attempt to change the situation.

One sign of a rut is that you feel busy, but you don’t know what you’ve accomplished at the end of the week. Take a fresh look at your routine switch it up with something new. Don’t decide that doing something one way is the best simply because it is the first thing you tried.