Presentation on theme: "Putting It All Together: Practical Strategies for Making and Keeping the Habits We Desire In this third workshop, I will put together everything we learned."— Presentation transcript:
1 Putting It All Together: Practical Strategies for Making and Keeping the Habits We Desire In this third workshop, I will put together everything we learned from the two previous talks (The Science of Bad Habits: How to Make New Year's Resolutions that You Will Keep and How to Keep Your Willpower and Lose the Weight).The emphasis in this workshop will be on actual strategies. You don't have to have attended the first two sessions.I hope everyone is ready to make some changes. I want to thank everyone for coming to today’s talk on “It’s Not about Willpower: Make it a Habit”.Who here has at least one bad habit to change? Can anyone share out an example. Some of my examples are: eating after 9 pm, getting annoyed with my husband and kids, texting while at a light. Today is all about changing those kinds of habits.I would like you to keep in mind one of your most challenging habits as I talk.Presented by: Dr. Caren Baruch-FeldmanWebsite –-Scarsdale LibraryApril 12, 2013
2 A Little Bit About Me Before After Today’s talk is all about taking everything we learned and applying it. It is quite similar to the work I do as a psychologist. As a psychologist, I help people to establish goals and then work with them to identify the obstacles that get in their way. That is what we will be doing today.As many of you know from the previous talk, my weight has been a habit that I have struggled with my whole life. Even though I have felt successful in many areas of my life, I have felt out of control in terms of my eating and my weight. So I decided to do something about it. I turned to a nutritionist and read everything I could get my hands on about changing habits. Based on both changing my behavior and changing my thinking, I lost 25 pounds.I did have an advantage in my ability to change my thinking in that as many of you know I am a cognitive behavioral psychologist. I actually had the privilege of studying with Dr. Albert Ellis one of the founders of cbt therapy and I am supervisor in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral psychology. I use cognitive behavioral strategies in my work both at Harrison where I work as school psychologist and in my private practice.My thinking was if cbt therapy could work so well with my patients to change their habits, couldn’t it help with mine?In addition, I was attracted to the books we will be discussing because I noticed in my practice that my patients were great about saying they would make changes, but at the time they needed to make change they often fell into old habits. I feel that the books and the work we will be doing actually helps you change behavior at the time it is occurring not only in my office.
3 Goals for Today1. Quick review of the latest research in habit building and willpower (based on 4 books). 2. Help you to develop your own positive, new habits. 3. Teach you the secrets of how to maintain these new habits by being more mindful and less impulsive.My goals for today are:Quick Review of the latest research in habit building and willpower (based on 4 books).Helping you to develop your own positive habits.Teach you the secrets of how to maintain these new habits by being more mindful and less impulsive.Before we start, I would like you to turn to your neighbor and share with him/her one habit that you would like to change. While I am discussing the latest research, I would like you to keep in mind that habit.
4 Four Books Serve as Inspiration This workshop is based on 4 books that I highly recommend. Has anyone read any of these books since our previous talks? I will now review some key points from the 4 books up for discussion.
5 BAD News/ GOOD News1. Our brains are lazy. 2. Stress makes us more susceptible to fall into bad habits. 4. Willpower is a limited resource. 5. Glucose/sugar refuels willpower (ugh). 6. We tend to be short-term as opposed to long-term hedonists.1. You can build willpower.2. Since willpower is limited – need to make into a habit so willpower is not used.3. Pick gateway habits (write it down, meditation, and exercise).4. Develop beliefs that will inspire you, focusing on long term goals as opposed to the immediate gratification.How many of you feel that the choices you make each day are the products of well considered decision making? How many of you feel that the decisions you make are primarily about the habits you engage in? Well if you thought that your decisions are about habits – you are right.Which brings us to the bad news.Bad News1.Our brain likes to be lazy. If we don’t do something different will fall into our bad habits.2.Glucose/sugar causes dopamine to release. Dopamine causes seeking, wanting, craving. It triggers the reward system but it doesn’t necessarily cause a reward. It causes us to pursue happiness but not be happy.3. The brain is highly susceptible to temptation when stressed. Stress leads to craving because it’s part of the brain’s rescue mission. Stress shifts the brain into an immediate reward seeking state.4/5. Willpower is a limited resource. Fueled by glucose-dieting a double whammy. If you take away one thing from today, I hope it is that willpower is a limited resource.6. We tend to be short-term as opposed to long-term hedonists. Good NewsEven though willpower is a limited resource, you can build willpower muscles. Willpower is a muscle. Just like any muscles, the willpower muscles can be strengthened. Every time you flex the willpower muscles you strengthen that response when in a challenging situation. So flex those willpower muscles.2. Don’t rely on willpower. Instead be proactive and make into a habit. If something is a habit don’t need to use willpower. How cool is that. Give ex. Putting on seat belt. Best way to strengthen willpower is to make it a habit.3. Pick a gateway habit (write it down, meditation, and exercise). This type of habit builds resistance muscles.4. Develop beliefs that will inspire you, focusing on long term goals as opposed to the immediate gratification.
6 Putting It Into Practice Pick a bad habit to change.Change your beliefs so that you are more mindful and reflective, focusing on the long term goals as opposed to the immediate gratification.Identify ways to be proactive and mindful.Give yourself credit along the way.When you get off track, and you will, learn how to get back on track with limited damage through using response cards.
7 Let’s Put Our Ideas Into Practice: Bad Habit Write down one bad habit that you would like to work on.What is the cue, routine, and reward for this bad habit?1. Bad habit to change? Eating cookies after 9pm. 2. What is the cue, routine, and reward for this old habit? Cue = feeling entitled or having a craving. Routine = go into the kitchen for just 1 cookie, but eat many more. Reward = dopamine rush and pleasure from taste of cookie.At this time I would like everyone to pick one habit to change. You can work by yourself on this or with a partner but I would like everyone to be working. On the worksheet write down the habit you want to work on. Underneath indicate the cue, routine, and reward for this habit.
8 Let’s Put Our Ideas Into Practice: New Habit Write down one new habit that you would like to work on.What is the cue, routine, and reward for the new habit?New habit? Staying out of the kitchen after 9pm.What is the cue, routine, and reward of this new habit?Cue = feeling entitled or having a craving.Routine = go into bedroom and drink decaf coffee.Reward = continue to fit into my size 4 pants.
9 Bad Habit/Good Habit1. Bad Habit to Change? Getting frustrated with my son when he loses his jacket.2. What is the Cue, Routine, and Reward of this Old Habit?Cue = Son loses his jacket.Routine = I get frustrated that he has lost another Northface coat.Reward = Get it off my chest and feel better as I’m yelling.New Habit? Staying calm when my son loses another Northface jacket. 2. What is the Cue, Routine, and Reward for the New Habit? Cue = Son loses his jacket. Routine = Stay calm and see if we can brainstorm to find it. Reward = Better relationship with my son. Good role model for dealing with frustration.
10 Changing a Habit is Not Enough: Need to Change the Belief Sabotaging BeliefsHelpful BeliefsFocuses on the here and now.Emotionally charged.Distortions/DelusionsEXAMPLESStay away from- “what the heck phenomena”.Stay away from thinking your are doing “good”.“Your future self, is no better than your current self.”Focuses on the long-term.More thoughtful and rational.Less emotionally charged.EXAMPLESStand firm. No wavering.Remind yourself of the whole story, not just the beginning.Seek to be consistent.In Charles Durhig’s book, discussion about changing habits, changing a habit is not enough. One needs to develop a new belief. A belief was the ingredient that made a new habit sustain even stressful situations. We have 2 minds: the present and future. Old lady, young maiden. We often are swayed by the immediate consequences. We need to shift our thinking to our long term goals as opposed to the immediate.Helpful BeliefsStand Firm, No Wavering: This notion of “standing firm” has been, for me, one of the most important ones. The idea is that whatever habit you decide to change, once you commit, you need to tell yourself that you are absolutely not going to give in and that there is no choice. It is the wavering that causes all the trouble. I often think about this in terms of kashrus. I don’t eat lobster. I am not tempted by lobster. It is a no-brainer and takes no willpower. It is because there is no choice and I never waver from that decision that it is easy for me. As Judith Beck says, “NO CHOICE, I can stand it.”Remind Yourself of the Whole Story, Not Just the Beginning: Oftentimes, when we engage in a negative habit, we focus on how we immediately feel. We tend to focus on the immediate gratification. However, what we fail to remember is the middle and the end to the story. I often say to my patients, “Don’t just think about the cover and the first page, think about pages 2 through 700.” We easily forget how we feel after we have overeaten, yelled at our son or daughter, or when we are late for work. The initial gratification only lasts a few seconds, whereas the rest of the story lasts much longer and often has more powerful consequences. It is important to ask yourself, after you have imagined the whole story, what feels better, the immediate gratification or the rest that follows?Seek to be consistent. When you want to change a behavior aim to reduce variability in the behavior, not the behavior itself. View every choice you make as a commitment to all future choices. So instead of asking yourself, Do I want a candy bar today? Ask yourself, do I want the consequences of eating a candy bar every afternoon for the next year?Delusions and DistortionsDon’t overreact when you mess up. For example, one reason dieters fail is a phenomenon known informally as the “what the hell effect.” Once people lapse, they figure the day’s diet is blown anyway, so they go on to finish the whole carton of ice cream, thereby doing far more damage than the original lapse. If you broke one dish of your china would you throw the rest of your china away? If you stumbled on one step, would you fall down the rest?Stay away from thinking you are doing good.Your future self is no better than your current self .
11 What’s Your Sabotaging Beliefs? What’s Your Rational, Helpful Beliefs? Common Sabotaging ThoughtsHelpful BeliefsNo it’s not ok to eat something I didn’t plan for. Each time I do, I strengthen my giving-in muscle instead of my resistance ones. If I want to be thin, then I can’t eat when I’m upset.I get only a few seconds of pleasure for eating unplanned food, but then I feel bad afterwards. I want to lose weight more than the few seconds of pleasure.I deserve to be truly happy, eating cake out of the box is really not going to make me happy in the long run.Ultimately does it really matter than I’m right. Is my relationship more important or is being right more important?It’s ok to eat this just one time.Since I cheated a little I might as well eat whatever I want.I’m upset, I should be allowed to eat.I’ve been so good, I deserve it.I’m annoyed its ok to be nasty.I’m right so who cares how I come across.Review my common sabotaging thoughts. Show them the helpful responses. Have them identify their own sabotaging thoughts and their own helpful responses. Doesn’t only have to be about food. Take a moment and write out your own sabotaging thoughts and your helpful responses on the worksheet. Share out. Go back to my bad habits and identify sabotaging and helpful beliefs.
12 Setting Yourself Up For Success: Being Proactive Write down the steps to achieving your goal (goal setting and self monitoring).Make it easy to be good and hard to be bad.Avoid triggers.Identify and pick a distractionor a replacement activity.Be proactive : Plan, plan, and more planning. Judith Beck takes an overall proactive approach. I agree in this approach for weight loss or in changing any other problematic behavior. We are much more effective when we plan for challenges as opposed to having them just unfold.Write down everything you eat before you eat it.Avoid triggers as opposed to thinking you can overcome them.Make response cards so you are prepared for any challenge.Identify and pick a distraction activity that you can do instead of your habit. Have participants write down ways they will be proactive.
13 Be mindful Meditation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fcdv0kFVMs Builds resistance muscles and weakens the giving in muscles.Look at youtube video. Write down on sheet way that you can be more mindful (mindful eating, sitting while eating, etc)
14 Give Yourself Credit.Give yourself credit for engaging in helpful eating behaviors.Write down CREDIT. What is your MAZEL of the day?Give yourself credit for engaging in helpful eating behaviors. This point is one that I forgot about and only when re-reading for this workshop did I remember and added to my repertoire.How many of you are hard on yourselves? If you make a mistake about what you eat or how you spoke to your kids, are you self critical? Do you think being self critical helps? I don’t. I recently had an experience in the gym. Anita one of the talented instructors at Body Fit gave a shout and said, “good job Caren“. Her shout inspired me to lift my leg higher and work harder whereas when another instructor said to me, “How many times do I have to show you how to use those bands?” His comment made me want to give up.The same is true with our eating. It doesn’t help to say, “I’m such a loser. I will never be successful” after I eat something. It is better to say, “that wasn’t the best choice. It’s good I stopped there. I will now make a choice to make better choices.”Which way of thinking do you think will lead to better choices in the future?All too often we focus on the negative which then discourages us. Write down the word CREDIT on your worksheet and remind yourself to give yourself credit for big and small acts.
15 Response Cards Response Cards to get you started: 1. “Advantage” Card 2. “It’s Not Ok” CardResponse Cards to keep you going and when you fall off track:1. “Oh Well” Card2. “Get Back on Track” CardA response card is a tool that helps you change your mindset and overcome sabotaging thoughts.Read the card everyday and when you are struggling with a craving, temptation, or sabotaging thought.By reading everyday you make this into a habit.Participants will write down four response cards on their worksheet.
16 1st Response Card: Advantage Card My Advantage Card for Watching My Weight I’ll look better. I’ll be able to wear a smaller size. I’ll be in better health. I’ll feel better physically. I’ll feel more in control.
17 “It’s Not Ok” Response Card It’s not ok to go in the kitchen after 9pm. It’s not ok to eat crumbs. Every time I do so I wind up eating more or something that I am not supposed to. I also feel bad afterwards. Even though it does taste good for a few minutes, it is not worth it. It’s not ok to be nasty with my son. I wouldn’t want anyone to talk to me that way even if the other person was right.
18 Be Accepting:“Oh Well” Saying, “oh well” means I don’t like it this, but I’ll accept this and move on.True acceptance allows us to relinquish the struggle and allows us to have the energy to focus on what we can control rather than on what we can’t control.I really feel hungry. Oh well.This is too hard and not fair. Oh well.I wish I could eat what I wanted all the time. Oh well.My son keeps losing his Northface Oh well.A long the way, there will be times of disappointment and times when you don’t feel like sticking to your new habit. Making and keeping habits take hard work. Work that we don’t always want to do. In the Beck Diet Solution, Dr. Judith Beck speaks about her own son who was diagnosed with epilepsy. He was put on a very strict diet. So for about 6 years, he could eat only 3 meals a day and no snacks and no fat. As you can imagine this was very hard for her son. Something that she shared that helped him a great deal was to say, “oh well”….. Whenever he wanted to eat something, he couldn’t, he would say, “oh well I don’t like this, but I’m going to accept this and move on. By accepting the situation, she reported he struggled less. In a few weeks, a new mindset and new habits were formed. This can happen to you.When you notice a thought such as “Its not fair that I can’t eat this” or “it’s not fair that I get anxious”, or that “other people have this easier” you can say, “oh well” or in other words I don’t like it, but I will accept it and move on. Doing so eliminates the struggle and allows you to focus on what you can control.This is true for weight or any other difficulty in life, if we can accept the situation we take some of the struggle out of the issue allowing us to have the energy to focus on what we can control.On the worksheet write down your own personal “oh well”.
19 “Get Back on Track” Response Card Okay I shouldn’t have eaten that… I made a mistake… This one mistake is certainly not going to make me gain weight this week. It’s a million times better to stop now than to allow myself to eat more. I deserve credit for stopping.On the worksheet write down your own personal “get back on track”.
20 Change that Habit Form by Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman www.drbaruchfeldman.com 1. Gateway Habits (exercise and write it down)? ___2. Stand Firm? ___3. Meditate? ___4. Seek Social Support and/or Make It Public? ___5. Give Myself Credit/Mazel of the Day? ___6. Change My Belief(s)? ___7. Use an Advantage Card? ___8. Make It Easy to Follow My New Habit and Hard to Follow My Old One? ___9. All of the Above? ___
21 Last ThoughtsMake it a habit!!! Not enough to just think about these matters. Need to do it so eventually it will become a habit and muscle memory will be formed.Feedback for me.Small group/individual session forming: weight loss; other habits – reach out to me at: for more information.Make it a habit!!! Not enough to just think about these matters. Need to do it so eventually will become a habit and muscle memory will be formed.Feedback for me, indicate on an index card.