Day 7: Troubleshooting
This is the seventh day of Habitspark Diet Foundations.
Succesful change is not about being perfect. You are doing Habitspark right if you DON’T keep a habit some days (if you have no problem at all keeping the habit, you probably aren’t pushing yourself!). The most important thing is that you keep up with the tracking no matter how it’s going. If you are tracking daily and being honest with yourself, you are making progress. The system will help you decide when a habit isn’t working and you should drop it for the time being. It will also help you know when you can handle adding more, or when you should lessen what you are working on. If you are having trouble keeping a habit, set aside some time to troubleshoot. What is getting in your way?
What are the messages you are telling yourself about the habit? For example, if you are struggling to keep a habit of writing every day, you might notice that as you are getting ready to write you have lots of discouraging thoughts like “this is going to be awful” “I’ll never catch up on all the writing I need to do” etc. Write down the thoughts you have and ask yourself if they are helpful or unhelpful? Write down responses you could make to these thoughts. For example, you might answer “writing is not so bad once I’ve started,” and “I have a lot of work to do, but I will get there eventually if I take it one small step at a time.”
Do you need more organization/preparation? If you are trying to eat healthy meals but come home and don’t have healthy ingredients, it might be that you need to first start a habit of planning out menus and shopping for the ingredients you need.
Is the habit overwhelming? For example, you might feel overwhelmed by a habit of exercising for an hour every day. A good strategy mgiht be to make it a smaller habit, such as exercising for half an hour a day. A lo of people find the most success with an even smaller habit such as “put on my jogging shoes and step out the front door.”
Is the habit very aversive to you? It might simply not be a good fit for you. For example, you might be trying to jog every day; however, jogging just might not be the right activity for you, maybe playing a team sport, or hiking in nature, or joining a dance class would work better for you.
Is your environment working for you or against you? If you are cutting down on sugar and there are bowls of candy all over the place at work, your environment is working against you. Brainstorm ways to change your environment. For example, you might ask your boss to start a policy of having candy only in the cubbard in the breakroom so you don’t see it. Of course, there are limits to how you can modify your environment. It is important that if your environment is working against you, you be especially gentle with yourself and work on slow and steady progress.
Troubleshooting works best when you can consult with somebody else. It is hard to think of alternatives on your own, and you can get caught in cycles of negative or unclear thinking. Therapists and counselors are trained to help troubleshooting and friends can provide an excellent source of support. You can also seek help troubleshooting in the Habitspark forums.
Congratulations, you’ve now learned all of the main components of the Habitspark system. From now on, we’ll focus on developing the Diet Foundations habits. You can retire the “Complete Habitspark getting started material” habit and tomorrow start Habit 2: Food Planning.