Montco Happening is proud to feature the work of Randi Rentz. The local teacher, resident, and breast cancer survivor has turned what was once an unimaginable diagnosis into a message of hope and strength for all of us to hear. We hope that you take the time to read her monthly articles for daily inspiration. Montco Happening would like to thank Randi for all the work that she does for cancer patients and families in and around our community. Click here to visit her website to learn more about her mission and to see first hand why she was voted BEST Blogger in Montgomery County in the Happening List 2015, and currently in the running again for 2016!!!

Randi Rentz5 Steps to Change Habits

As I think about this spring with inspirational new intentions, I also think about changing habits. I have some really good habits and a few, ahem, not-so-good habits. In keeping with my Shining Moment philosophy, I’m inclined toward focusing on growing and improving the good ones and shedding the not-so-good habits.

Some habits are relatively simple, like limiting e-mail time or web surfing (well, actually, those aren’t altogether that easy!). Others like lifestyle and dietary ones may take a great deal more effort and focus. As you know by now, I’m a list kind of gal. So, here’s how I approach habit changing:

  1. Analyze:Identify a habit that you want to change (g., drink green and/or herbal tea instead of freshly brewed coffee). How is this bad habit affecting you (the caffeine and milk are both no-no’s post-breast cancer)? How is this habit affecting other people (the caffeine makes me a grump and, I believe, contributes to hot flashes!)? The first step to change any habit is to analyze why we have the habit in the first place (OMG are they good!!!!), making a diagnosis, if you will. If a habit were entirely destructive, we wouldn’t use it. DUH. The reason any habit exists is because at some level it gives us positive reinforcement (Yumminess).
  2. Decide:You must decide that breaking bad habits through a conscious effort is worth the effort. It is important to convince yourself that the change in the habit is worth the effort, a cost-benefit analysis of sorts. Clearly, getting myself fully back on the healthy wagon is the right thing for me and my body. It helps me feel good, look good and I know in my heart of hearts that this is key to preventing a recurrence. What?!? It must be said!
  3. Strategize: Now that the impact of the habit has been analyzed and the decision to change has been made, I like to form a strategy for changing the habit. Likely you will need to make a bunch of minor habitual adjustments in order to smoothly transition your new habit (e.g., focusing on anherbal tea ritual at home and removing my Coffee maker from the kitchen). Identifying as many minor changes involved in the habit is the key to success. Here’s another example: if you are starting a new diet, you need to identify all the other things you will need to adjust to compensate. Will you need to buy new food? Will you have to change the food you order at restaurants? Will you have to learn how to cook this new food? Will you have to replace your habit of eating when stressed to a different activity? The failure of most habit changes lies in this step. The Shining Moment is that knowing how important strategy is will get you that much closer to success!
  4. Dedicate: This is HUGE. You must be determined to do whatever it takes for breaking bad habits so that you can better control your life. You make a decision that “no matter what” you will change the habit. You do the work required to stop. One of the things that really helps me change is imaging a stop sign. That’s right. If I dream of a tea latte, then a big (sometimes HUGE!) stop sign appears in my mind. Kind of rudimentary, but hey, it works for moi!
  5. Persist:There will be times when you question whether it is all worth it. You’ll say to yourself that breaking these bad habits is too difficult; that you are too “weak” to change. Your old self, often so comfortable living with the bad habits, is trying to hold on. Continual day-by-day actions are what are critical. This is NOT about an occasional action or step. It is about being unflinchingly persistent every day.

The Shining Moment about this particular habit of mine is that ceasing and desisting will be aided by my new collection of teas. Shooo-eeee!

5 Steps to Change Habits

As I think about this spring with inspirational new intentions, I also think about changing habits. I have some really good habits and a few, ahem, not-so-good habits. In keeping with my Shining Moment philosophy, I’m inclined toward focusing on growing and improving the good ones and shedding the not-so-good habits.

Some habits are relatively simple, like limiting e-mail time or web surfing (well, actually, those aren’t altogether that easy!). Others like lifestyle and dietary ones may take a great deal more effort and focus. As you know by now, I’m a list kind of gal. So, here’s how I approach habit changing:

  1. Analyze:Identify a habit that you want to change (g., drink green and/or herbal tea instead of freshly brewed coffee). How is this bad habit affecting you (the caffeine and milk are both no-no’s post-breast cancer)? How is this habit affecting other people (the caffeine makes me a grump and, I believe, contributes to hot flashes!)? The first step to change any habit is to analyze why we have the habit in the first place (OMG are they good!!!!), making a diagnosis, if you will. If a habit were entirely destructive, we wouldn’t use it. DUH. The reason any habit exists is because at some level it gives us positive reinforcement (Yumminess).
  2. Decide:You must decide that breaking bad habits through a conscious effort is worth the effort. It is important to convince yourself that the change in the habit is worth the effort, a cost-benefit analysis of sorts. Clearly, getting myself fully back on the healthy wagon is the right thing for me and my body. It helps me feel good, look good and I know in my heart of hearts that this is key to preventing a recurrence. What?!? It must be said!
  3. Strategize: Now that the impact of the habit has been analyzed and the decision to change has been made, I like to form a strategy for changing the habit. Likely you will need to make a bunch of minor habitual adjustments in order to smoothly transition your new habit (e.g., focusing on anherbal tea ritual at home and removing my Coffee maker from the kitchen). Identifying as many minor changes involved in the habit is the key to success. Here’s another example: if you are starting a new diet, you need to identify all the other things you will need to adjust to compensate. Will you need to buy new food? Will you have to change the food you order at restaurants? Will you have to learn how to cook this new food? Will you have to replace your habit of eating when stressed to a different activity? The failure of most habit changes lies in this step. The Shining Moment is that knowing how important strategy is will get you that much closer to success!
  4. Dedicate: This is HUGE. You must be determined to do whatever it takes for breaking bad habits so that you can better control your life. You make a decision that “no matter what” you will change the habit. You do the work required to stop. One of the things that really helps me change is imaging a stop sign. That’s right. If I dream of a tea latte, then a big (sometimes HUGE!) stop sign appears in my mind. Kind of rudimentary, but hey, it works for moi!
  5. Persist:There will be times when you question whether it is all worth it. You’ll say to yourself that breaking these bad habits is too difficult; that you are too “weak” to change. Your old self, often so comfortable living with the bad habits, is trying to hold on. Continual day-by-day actions are what are critical. This is NOT about an occasional action or step. It is about being unflinchingly persistent every day.

The Shining Moment about this particular habit of mine is that ceasing and desisting will be aided by my new collection of teas. Shooo-eeee!

randi rentz 

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