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When Old Habits No Longer Serve Us

By: Carleen Paprocki, M.S., OTR/L, Coach, Reiki Master

Old habits die hard.

Yep, they totally do. Falling into old habits or behavior patterns is easy. It’s comfortable. We know what it’s like living that way. Some old habits are healthy. Some... not so much. The unhealthy ones may not be what’s best for us, but at least we know what living that way is like. It also doesn’t take much effort to let those old habits decide for us. Our behaviors become automatic.

What old habits do you have that aren’t serving your greatest and highest good? Maybe you have an emotional relationship with food and now you’ve gained weight. Maybe you react with anger or yell when you feel out of control. Maybe you keep getting injured while you’re training for a race.

Have you ever tried to change those old habits?

What do most people do? They do what’s easiest....which usually isn’t actually changing the habit. For example, take someone who has an emotional relationship with food and wants to lose weight. Perhaps they work out to try to lose the weight or maybe they go on a diet. Sure, they may lose weight (for awhile), but are they truly addressing the underlying problem? Will they be successful in maintaining the weight loss? ....probably not. Because the underlying problem is their *relationship* with food. It’s something that’s so deeply rooted in the person’s being that it’s extremely uncomfortable and feels impossible to change.

But it’s not. It just feels that way sometimes.

When we seek to make changes in our lives to serve our greatest and highest good we truly must dive deep into ourselves. We must reflect on the true underlying *cause* of the habit, behavior, or issue at hand.

Back to the example of our emotional eater. They didn’t just wake up one day and become this way. It might have been modeled to them from a parent. Maybe they were never taught to have a healthy relationship with food. It’s also likely that they don’t have any stress coping skills or reward systems that don’t involve food.

Changing a habit, thus truly changing our behaviors, requires us to dig deep. To be raw, real, and uncut with ourselves. It’s not comfortable. It may dig up your past. You may have to process old wounds. But, do you want to evolve or remain the same? If you choose to evolve, then lean into that discomfort and make the active decision to choose to grow. Make a commitment to yourself for yourself.

The next time the behavior trigger comes up in your life... stop. Take a moment to decide how you really feel. Don’t let old habits or behavior patterns decide for you. Make a conscious decision to take (or not take) whatever next step leads you toward your greatest and highest good.

Each time you go through this process you are taking one more step toward the best and most authentic version of you. Your future self will thank you!

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