Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Day Four — Journaling

Photo by Courtney Some Rights Reserved

The core concept behind the entire program is that change comes from a simple, three-step process of first getting leverage — i.e. the reasons some thing must change and must change now, interrupting the patterns that exist, and forming a new association that reinforces the desired pattern of behavior. So, in this set of assignments, I'm supposed to work on doing those three things with the four things from day two. In retrospect, I may have made it a bit too easy on myself, because one of them was a simple "take action now" thing. (I have since made an appointment with a dermatologist.) However, one that should have been even more simple, switching back to a stability ball instead of a chair, still hasn't happened. So, with the remaining three from that list…

  1. Fixing my diet
  2. Returning to a stability ball instead of a chair
  3. Quitting smoking
10 reasons I must fix my diet now:
  1. My body is falling apart, and the only way to change that is to fix what I eat.
  2. I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
  3. If I were eating right, I could be a more positive influence on the people in my life I care about.
  4. Ultimately, eating right will cost less money than continuing to overeat and to eat junk.
  5. If I don't fix my diet and lose the weight I need to, it will be a great deal more difficult to ever find a relationship.
  6. If I do fix my diet and lose the weight, I can buy clothes from normal stores for the first time in almost twenty years.
  7. With the extra energy that a proper diet would give me, I might actually be able to commit to an exercise program that would change the rest of my body's problems for the better.
  8. Eating right means that I get to have one less thing that my doctors hassle me about.
  9. Normal-sized clothes cost less, especially when they are custom tailored.
  10. My shoes would wear out even less quickly, were I to weigh less.
10 reasons I must return to a ball instead of a chair now:
  1. My back problems continue to get worse, and this would help that.
  2. My knee problems continue to get worse, and this would help with that as well.
  3. I feel better when I sit with proper posture.
  4. The increased strength in my core stabilizer muscles would help prevent injuries at work.
  5. My chair is too broken, so I risk knocking things over whenever I stand up; a stability ball does not have that problem.
  6. Sitting on a ball, I can bounce along to the music while listening to my new cassette collection.
  7. Having the ball handy would encourage me to do at least some Yoga before bed each night.
  8. It's much easier to sweep and mop around a stability ball than it is a chair.
  9. I could give my chair to someone who needs a desk chair.
  10. Stability balls are so much cooler than chairs.
10 reasons I must quit smoking now:
  1. My lungs aren't getting any better as long as I keep smoking.
  2. I would have considerably more money to spend on other things that I enjoy more.
  3. I wouldn't ever have to worry about running out of cigarettes at work again.
  4. I wouldn't feel compelled to leave the house at odd hours of the night just to make sure I had enough cigarettes for when I woke up the next morning.
  5. If I don't change, I will continue to ruin shirts and upholstery.
  6. So long as I keep smoking, I'll never be able to convince the people in my life that I care about to stop.
  7. If I quit now, I can take pride in having conquered something technically more addictive than heroine.
  8. Quitting smoking means I never have to miss out on part of dinner with friends, because I had to step out for a cigarette.
  9. Quitting smoking means never having to ask if someone is a smoker or not when considering a relationship.
  10. Not smoking means my sense of smell should return to a more normal state in a few months.
I'm supposed to work out four or five ways to interrupt the existing patterns that I want to change. Given that one of the items from the previous exercise is more of an "I just need to get off my butt and do it" king of thing, I'm going to ignore that one for this part.

Ways to interrupt bad eating associations:
  • When I'm about to eat something outside of a meal, I make myself drink a glass of water first.
  • When I'm about to eat for emotional reasons, I remind myself that whatever I'm eating to feel better about isn't as bad as I feel from not eating the way I know I should
  • I can fix lunches for work, so that I'd be wasting food if I were to not eat them.
Ways to interrupt smoking:
  • When I'm about to light a cigarette, I can remind myself that I'm literally burning money.
  • Between drags on a cigarette, I make myself cough.
  • Instead of smoking right away, I make myself wait at least a minute while I do something unrelated, like singing the "Alphabet Song" or walking to the other end of the house.
I feel like I'm being insufficiently creative with my pattern-interrupting ideas, but I suspect that will get easier with practice.

The last part of the assignment is to form a new, positive association, such as going out to a restaurant with friends and choosing consciously to not eat anything while there or to go and do something that would normally involve smoking and actively avoid smoking while doing it. I'll need to follow-up with how that works out.

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