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Have you become a REG (Random Excuse Generator)? 3 Steps To Help Break the Cycle


1.        “The Power of Context”: The environment around you WILL influence your decision making

“The Power of Context” is a term from Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.  Gladwell paints a vivid picture of New York City in the 1980s, when its crime rate was “in the grip of one of the worst crime epidemics in its history”.  To rectify the situation he cites the fact that a number of New York City agencies began to make decisions based on the Broken Windows theory, which held that minor, unchecked signs of deterioration in a neighborhood or community could, over time, result in major declines in the quality of living.  To reverse these trends, city authorities started focusing on seemingly small goals like painting over graffiti, cracking down on subway toll skippers, and dissuading public acts of degeneracy.  Gladwell contends that these changes in the environment allowed the other factors, like the decline in crack cocaine use and the aging of the population, to gradually tip into a major decline in the crime rate in the city.

So how does this apply?  When you threw back the covers, rolled out of bed and hit the snooze button this morning you might have done it in a seemingly unconscious state. If you were to place the alarm clock on the opposite side of the room or purchase a clock without a snooze button you may be forced to then get out of bed on time.  Or buy clocky.  Have you been too lazy to chop up whole fruit?  Then why not start buying fresh prepackaged fruit cocktails from the market.  Then strategically situate it at the front of the refrigerator.  I do the same with salads.  The pre-clean and package salad mix is one of the best inventions of the 20th century.  I haven’t bought a head of romaine or iceberg in over a year.

2.       Develop a Mantra

We spend hours in the gym each week working on our physical physique, now it’s time to spend 15 minutes on a mental workout.  Define your motivation.  Is it to shrink the waistline for an upcoming engagement?  To fit comfortably into the seat on your next flight?  To climb that flight of stairs at work without losing your breath?  Once you’ve defined the source of your motivation develop a short phrase (no more than 5 words) that you can repeat to yourself when the excuses start to pop into your head.  Mine is small changes = BIG PROGRESS!  Then, refer back to step 1.  Post this mantra everywhere; the desktop computer screen or screensaver, the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, recliner, car steering wheel, etc.  You could even have a personalized wristband with your mantra on it.  Tattoo?  Okay, maybe I went too far.

3.        Create accountability:  Both  Internal and External

Internal Accountability:  This could be a food journal, activity journal or a pedometer.  I particularly like the Body Minder and the Yamax DigiWalker.  The key to making personal accountability work is evaluating your progress.  Did you reach the step goal for this week?  Did you sleep in one too many days?

External Accountability:  I call these the “Playgrounds and Playmates”.  Associate yourself with people and places that will help hold you accountable.  The neighborhood walking club, the Zumba class at the local YMCA, a Personal Trainer, or a Health and Wellness Coach.

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