How can I change my habits?

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Ever tried to change your eating habits but couldn’t?

Have you ever said, “I’m going to eat salads for the next two weeks to lose weight,”only to go back to eating junk food the very next day? You try new behaviors in attempts to make changes, but you end up falling back on old habits because, well, it's what you’ve always done. What keeps us from the changes that we are trying to make?  If you act like this, you may be experiencing “Futile Persistence”, a term coined from a recent article in Psychology Today by Noam Shpancer, PhD.  “ Futile Persistence” may explain why most people find it difficult to change old habits. We are creatures of patterns and habits. “We keep running to the well long after it has dried up”, says Shpancer. We try to eat salads to lose weight, but when stress comes or we lose interest in the reasons why we do something, we run to old habits.

Futile Persistence, what's that?

We continue on with old patterns and habits with “futile persistence”,  despite the negative results because we give in to convenience and ease. According to Merriam Webster, Futile means “serving no useful purpose” and Persist means “to be insistent in the repetition”. We may absolutely need to change bad habits that are useless because they may be causing us great harm. Yet we keep doing something detrimental, with the hope we may find different results.  When it comes to our choices, behaviors, or habits, a good look at what may be driving our choices could be a worthwhile step to breaking the “futile persistence” cycle.  “Automatic habits require no conscious attention, and will hence persist unless consciously disrupted. We can only do what we know how to do,” says Shpancer.

Why habits are hard to break

When we continue to do something that may be detrimental to us, we tend to get short-term relief or pleasure from it.  The human brain, post the Y2K, has come to want the benefit of instant and short-term satisfaction versus long term efforts and consistency that produces gain. Short term rewards are reactionary and immediate, while long term gain rewards require more thought and consistent discipline to attain. “The difficulty in breaking useless or destructive behavior patterns has to do with the inherent power of habits themselves,” says Shpancer. 


NYFITPROS can help you change your habits

So, how do we change our habits? Enter NYFitPros. NYFitPros will help you consciously develop positive and improved behavior patterns and help you perform them consistently. When we repeatedly make different and improved decisions, we diminish destructive behavior and develop the skills and discipline to live in new ways. At NYFitPros, you are not alone, we are here to collaborate, demonstrate, and motivate you to begin and stick to the change process. Weight loss comes from consistent, steady change of old habits along with changes in diet and activity to bring about a new you.  Let NYFitPros partner with you to change your “futile persistence” into lasting, effective change and weight loss, one pound at a time.


Photo credit: Copyright : Paulus Rusyanto; Image ID : 66219099 123RF

Penelope Benjamin, B.A. Exercise Science

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