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4 Keys To Altering Unhealthy Behaviors

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How To Change Unhealthy Behaviors

Good day and welcome to episode 41 of the Males’s Self-Assist Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. John Moore, and I’m a licensed psychotherapist out of Chicago, Illinois and I focus on males’s work and males’s points.

Now as we get into right this moment’s pod, please you should definitely hit that subscribe button so that you by no means miss one other present. Fast disclaimer, this podcast isn’t designed to behave as an alternative choice to psychological well being counseling and I’m not your private therapist.

Alrighty – let’s bounce proper into our subject. Easy methods to change unhealthy behaviors.

As a place to begin, I’d prefer to ask you a few questions.

  • Do you end up repeatedly participating in issues you understand you aren’t good for you?
  • For instance, do you drink to a lot, smoke an excessive amount of or eat an excessive amount of?
  • Have you ever been over-buying issues on-line, regardless that you understand you don’t really want them – and admittedly can’t afford them?

If any of this sounds acquainted, welcome to the membership! If we’re being actual about it, all of us are imperfect – and that features me. In reality, I’ve finished nearly everybody of these issues I simply ticked off with some greater than others.

And I’m saying this as a result of so as so that you can create a shift in one thing, like an unhealthy behavior and even an habit, you’ve acquired to be trustworthy with your self about what’s occurring. And after I say trustworthy, I’m speaking about doing it in a means that’s devoid of judgement and disgrace.

Chances are you’ll be questioning how can I do that? Properly, grasp tight as a result of I’m going to go over all of this with you in just some minutes as a part of exploring the 4 keys to altering habits.

However only for proper now, I would like you to consider that one factor – that one habits – you’d like to alter and simply tuck it in your again pocket, as a result of we’ll be coming again to it.


You already know, I’ve been concerned in area of counseling and training for practically twenty years and I’ve labored with nearly each sort of particular person you’ll be able to think about – from the college janitor who has discovered himself hooked on ache killers to the company government hooked on grownup vids.

Some have been so poor they couldn’t afford the $2.00 bus journey to get to my workplace and others so wealthy that they pulled up in a chuffer pushed automotive.

However no matter their background, the frequent bond that united all of those folks – no matter their life station – was a robust want to create change. And as I speak about this now with you, I’m considering of a shopper I as soon as labored with named Mike.

Now when Mike got here to see me round 15-years in the past, he was battling a collection of life issues. He was in his late 30’s, obese and hooked on booze and adults vids.

To be able to get his sexual wants met – as a result of hey all of us have that a part of us that wants nurturing, he’d spend tons of of {dollars} on the weekend at therapeutic massage parlors – and after I say therapeutic massage, I’m speaking about locations that supply a contented endings, if you happen to observe my drift.

Now I discussed that final half to you not as a result of I consider completely satisfied endings are a nasty factor or that intercourse work is mistaken. Nope. Personally, I feel it’s type of ridiculous that we criminalize that type of factor between two consenting adults – and the key phrases being consenting adults.

However I digress – again to Mike. The rationale he got here to see me was as a result of there was part of him who realized that his life was spiraling uncontrolled. He didn’t like the best way he seemed, he hated how he had grow to be hooked on alcohol, and he wasn’t completely satisfied about his relationship with video or the therapeutic massage parlors.

What’s extra, he was terribly in debt and was on the verge of shedding his job as a fork-lift driver.

As I share a few of that with you, perhaps a few of you’ll be able to relate?

And so, Mike desperately wished to grow to be a brand new particular person. For him, he had gotten so depressed and accustomed to hating on himself that the person might barely take a look at himself within the mirror anymore.

He was depressed, lonely and even feeling a bit suicidal.

I can nonetheless hear him now saying to me: “Dr. John, please assist me cease doing these items. I don’t just like the particular person I’ve grow to be.”

And also you see that is what occurs when a person like Mike involves an individual like me. They desperately hope that the counselor can magically “repair” them and make every little thing higher.

However the unhappy reality is it doesn’t work that means. I imply hell yeah I want I had a magic wand and will do an abracadabra on somebody in that scenario. That may be superb! However the actuality is the method of change begins with every of us – it begins with you.

Right here’s a unclean little secret: Therapists and coaches can assist an individual to facilitate change, however the precise means of transformation begins with the person.

So, what occurs to a man like Mike who had clearly reached a degree of disaster? Can something be finished? Properly, I’ll inform you precisely what I informed Mike all these years in the past and its really excellent news.

Are you prepared? Right here it goes:

Disaster is the time limit when change is almost definitely.

Let me say that once more: Disaster is the time limit when change is almost definitely.

And this is sensible, doesn’t it? We by no means actually wish to change a habits if it’s not inflicting us issues, significantly if it brings us pleasure, proper?

Like if you happen to simply stepped away from a slot machine after successful the $10,000 jackpot, you aren’t going to be working round saying, “Oh man, I actually tousled. I simply hate myself for successful all that money. What the hell is mistaken with me?

Nope – the disaster half occurs if you lose the final $20.00 to your identify on a poker sport and notice, “Holly crap, I’m fully broke. I don’t even manage to pay for now to purchase myself meals – and the lease is late, and my automotive notice is late, and oh my God, my cellphone is about to get shut off. Why did I blow all my cash on that poker sport?

You see, that’s disaster. That’s when life will get actual. And once more, it’s the time limit when change is almost definitely. Comply with me?

All of this brings us again to our principal subject – how can I modify an unhealthy habits? Properly, now could be an excellent time for me to acquaint you with a way known as REST. Let me repeat that, REST and it stands for RELAX, EVALUATE, SET AN INTENTION and ACT.

Now as a matter of full disclosure, I didn’t make REST up. It involves us from the world Dialectical Habits Remedy or DBT -and it was conceptualized by the American psychologist, Dr. Marsha Linehan. If you wish to know extra about DBT, you should definitely take a look at episode 33.

Now as we go over REST, take into account that this system can be utilized as a part of a change course of. It isn’t designed to immediately cease an undesirable habits or magically repair it.

As an alternative, REST can be utilized as a part of discovering the motivation to place you on the trail to alter. Does that make sense? I simply wish to be clear about that as a result of anybody who says they will immediately repair any sort of ordinary or addictive drawback is yanking your chain.

OK, let’s get to it:

Change Behaviors Mystical Bird Water
Change and private transformation

Step One: Calm down

For this specific key, I want you to return to that one factor I discussed at the beginning of the podcast you wish to change. It could possibly be your relationship with alcohol, it could possibly be another substance, or it could possibly be a habits.

And what I’d such as you to do is mission a thought bubble above your head. Yep, a thought bubble – type of like what you would possibly see in a comic book ebook. And inside that bubble you’re going to position the picture or phrases of that one factor you are attempting to alter.

If it helps, take a deep breath and maintain it for the depend of 4 after which launch.

When you’ve finished this, all I would like you to do is observe that bubble. Yup yup, simply observe it. If you’re struggling to provide you with a picture, it’s OK to drag out a pen and paper and write down the phrase that represents that factor you wish to change. For instance: Alcohol, playing, smoking, video – you get the concept.

The concept right here is to create emotional distance from that one factor you wish to change.

If this feels a bit unusual to do, that’s high quality – simply go together with it. There could also be a part of you who’s immune to this type of factor as a result of it feels too woo-woo. No drawback, however I’d nonetheless such as you to go together with it and see how issues shake out.

By participating on this step, you’re using a strong instrument known as mindfulness. Consider it as your very personal super-power. Bear in mind, all we’re doing is observing. Comply with me?

If you’re questioning how lengthy you need to be holding this psychological picture, there is no such thing as a proper or mistaken reply. Since our purpose is so that you can merely observe – devoid of judgement – the period of time will fluctuate. For some folks, reaching a spot of non-judgmental statement takes just a few moments. For others, it might take a number of minutes – or extra – as a result of the thing itself is emotionally charged.

Your unconscious will let you understand if you’ve reached the precise place. If it’s essential pause this a part of the pod and are available again to it – that’s high quality and dandy.

As soon as you’re prepared, let’s transfer to step two.

Step Two: Consider

Now that you simply’re in a position to consider this habits you’re holding, it’s time to guage. Discover I stated consider and never decide as a result of there’s an enormous distinction between the 2.

Once we decide, we make a dedication a couple of given habits and its nearly at all times unfavourable. And truthfully, do you really want to put anymore guilt upon your self? In fact you don’t as a result of all that does is make you extra prone to interact in that undesired habits as a result of it allows you to escape from the guilt.

Once we consider, we merely take a look at one thing objectively to find out its worth. Right here’s an instance. Let’s say in my thought bubble I’ve projected a hamburger with fries as a result of each night time I’ve discovered myself consuming quick meals and it’s grow to be an unhealthy behavior.

In taking a look at that psychological image, I’m merely going to consider what worth that habits is bringing to my life. Some inquiries to ask as a part of this step embody:

  • Is it serving to me to look bodily match?
  • Does it make me extra engaging?
  • Has it helped me to maneuver nearer to my targets or additional away?

By evaluating a habits as a substitute of judging it, the habits itself has much less energy over us? Does that make sense? Now right here’s the factor with this step. It is very important not over analyze. All you wish to do is assess this factor in your life from the vantage level of 30,000 ft. If you’re utilizing a microscope, throw it out guys as a result of it’ll shoot you down a rabbit gap.

At this level, we aren’t attempting to resolve the issue. All we’re doing is evaluating it’s worth in our life? Does that make sense?

Now grasp with me as a result of in just some moments, we’re going to go over the opposite two steps.

Stick round.

Go to Higher Assist utilizing this hyperlink for a really particular provide to the listeners of the Podcast.

OK, so that you’ve finished the first step and projected that factor you’d like to alter in your thought bubble and also you’ve additionally taken care of step two, which is solely observing it and evaluating it’s presence.

Now we’re going to maneuver to step three, which is:

Step Three: Set an Intention

And with this one, you you’re going to be doing just about what it suggests. I’ve discovered step three works finest when it’s verbally acknowledged after which adopted up by writing it down.

Right here is an instance of setting an intention:

I wish to transfer nearer to stopping my relationship with video.

Discover I didn’t say: I’ll by no means watch video once more. You see, in case your intention is one thing like that, you’re forcing your thoughts into nook. And with unhealthy habits and even habit, we don’t wish to do this as a result of there might be part of ourselves who rebels. Name it a youthful model of the self and even what Sigmund Freud described on the ID. And the ID is devoid of time and area. It solely needs what it needs – each time it needs it – and it doesn’t like taking orders.

Actual fast, I keep in mind the primary time I attempted to alter my relationship with cigarettes and finally finish smoking. The extra I informed myself “I wish to give up” the extra I felt myself wanting one other cigarette. And the explanation for that’s as a result of it seems the phrase “Stop” makes the unconscious thoughts really feel prefer it’s giving one thing up, prefer it’s being punished.

It was solely till I shifted my intention – I shifted my language did I discover lasting change potential. I used to be ready to do that by creating the next various intention:

I wish to transfer nearer to stopping my relationship with nicotine.

Do you see what I did there? The phrases MOVE CLOSER aren’t as scary. Furthermore, I hacked into my brains Nucleus accumbens, an space of the pre-frontal cortex, generally known as the mind’s pleasure heart. And in my hack, I launched the potential for change with out freaking it out.

Once you set your intention – verbally after which in writing – you’re shifting your mindset slowly and regularly. And in my expertise that’s how lasting change occurs, after we make changes incrementally and never immediately.

As a part of this step, I encourage you to spend a while together with your intention. Chances are you’ll wish to mediate on it or chances are you’ll wish to write it down on a sticky notice and slap it up subsequent to your pc display. Consider your intention as planting a seed.

And of this all goes again to that magic wand deal – that abracadabra factor I talked about earlier than. In fact, if I’m hooked on alcohol, or nicotine or meals or no matter it may be, I’m going to wish to expertise fast outcomes.

However let me ask you a query: Once you’ve gone for fast outcomes prior to now, how did that work out? How lengthy did that change final? In all probability not lengthy, proper?

That’s why setting your intention after which spending time with it’s so necessary. It vegetation the seeds of change.

OK, the ultimate key or Step Quantity 4

Step 4: Take Motion

With this one, we’re transferring from a spot of thought to motion. And probably the greatest methods to do that is to start out off with the query WHAT.

In different phrases, what is one small factor you are able to do to create change with a given habits. Right here’s how Mike used this step. He requested himself:

What’s one small step I can take to alter my relationship with alcohol?

And when he requested himself this query, he realized that a part of the explanation he drank at residence was as a result of he was feeling bored and lonely.

And so, at night time, when he got here residence from work, as a substitute of sitting down on the sofa and having a number of glasses of scotch, he determined the one small factor he might do was half-hour of cardio at his native gymnasium. This allowed him to be round folks, which chased away the loneliness, and permit him to do one thing good for himself.

What he didn’t do was say, “I’m not going to drink anymore.” Nope, really it was simply the other. As an alternative, he left open the chance that he might nonetheless drink. However right here’s the factor and it type of pertains to physics.

Motion encourages extra motion – in different phrases movement continues to speed up on itself till one thing stops it.

Utilizing that what query as a part of step 4, taking motion, you would possibly ask your self:

What wouldn’t it be like if I selected to an apple as a substitute of a donut? What wouldn’t it be like if I used my creativeness after I self-pleasure as a substitute of video? What wouldn’t it be like if I spent 5 minutes studying an article about nicotine habit, as a substitute of instinctively lighting up?

You see, it’s the WHAT query that infuses the shift and sparks motion.

So, how did this search for Mike? Properly, merely put, he began to construct momentum and speed up the change course of. He thought to himself, “If I can do cardio at night time and never drink, what else can I do?”

And that’s when the wheels actually began turning for him. He joined a assist group for others battling alcohol abuse. He started creating change across the issues that have been robbing him of his shallowness, like how the booze was making him really feel crappy and the way grownup imagery was dishonest him out of significant intimacy.

Now right here’s the deal. A few of these realizations occurred as a part of counseling, the place we used a strength-based strategy to assist him draw upon his personal to empower change. I’ve put a hyperlink to the web site optimistic psychology to assist clarify this extra so you should definitely test it out.

With all of that stated, I’m not going to take a seat right here and inform you that his transformation was quick or that he Mike didn’t expertise some setbacks. He completely did. However you see, that’s how change works. It’s a collection of begins and stops, slips, and falls, till finally, we’re on the trail we wish to be.

Does the REST method work for everybody? In fact not. This is only one strategy. Nothing ever might be assured. However I’ll say that when we plant the seeds of change, it has a humorous means of taking place.

So, what’s occurring with Mike right this moment? Simply to be straight up, I’m not 100% certain as a result of the final time I bumped into him was round three years in the past. It was in entrance of Water Tower Place, in a stretch of land known as “Chicago’s Magnificent Mile”.

He was ready for a cab and shouted out to me as I walked into the constructing. At first, I didn’t acknowledge him as a result of he seemed so totally different. I imply yeah, he had aged however trustworthy to goodness the man seemed nice. He had misplaced weight and managed to maintain it off.

He seemed properly rested, and I might even see there a bit sparkle in his eyes. Lengthy story brief, we did the hiya factor and shook arms. However earlier than we might do any actual catching up, his cab had arrived. Seconds later, he was gone.

However you understand what, I didn’t want Mike to inform me how he was doing. It was apparent. I imply, you may simply inform that the present of change had visited him. That’s fairly superb, you understand?

Alright, earlier than we shut out this pod, let’s recap the 4 keys to altering unhealthy behaviors:

Step One: Calm down

Step Two: Consider

Step Three: Set an intention

Step 4: Take Motion

If you’re thinking about a workbook that comprises a handout on the REST strategy, together with different DBT methods, I’ve put a hyperlink in present notes to the DBT Expertise Workbook on Amazon.

We lined loads in right this moment’s present, don’t you suppose? Not solely did you find out about a way to create change round unhealthy behaviors, however you additionally realized a mind hack.

I’d prefer to take a second to thank the web site FEED SPOT for itemizing this pod among the many high 100 podcasts for males.

And people, now could be an excellent to for me to say that if you happen to liked this present or any of my previous podcasts, please take a second proper now to depart a overview on no matter platform chances are you’ll be listening. It solely takes a minute – as a result of it’s like this. The extra individuals who depart a overview, the upper this program exhibits up within the listings.

You already know there’s a lot of methods to achieve me. You may go to web site, Man Counseling Dot Com – and there, you will see various articles I’ve written, together with a type to fill out to get my e-newsletter.

You can too discover me on social media. I’m on Instagram at Man Counseling – and I’m on Fb and Twitter on the similar deal with.

So, there we have now it, one other present. Make it your purpose right this moment to place a smile on another person’s face. I hope you may have an incredible day!


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