5 Tips to Breaking Bad Habits

Bad habits have a way of holding you back from reaching your goals. This holds true both in your personal and professional life.

For example, you may be in the habit of showing up late for work meetings. While it may not sound like a big deal, it puts you in a bad light among your coworkers and supervisors. Subsequently, it jeopardizes your ability to take on a leadership role within the company.

Rather than let bad habits rule your life in the future, it’s time to take action. Here are five tips for breaking any bad habit (no matter what it may be):

  1. Write Down the Problem

In your mind, you know that your bad habit is causing you trouble. Rather than continue to think about this, write down the many aspects of the problem.

An example of this would be: I tend to interrupt coworkers when they are speaking.

From here, you could add:

  • An example of when you last did this
  • Potential reasons for the habit
  • How this makes other people feel

When you write down the finer details of the problem, it’s easier to implement a solution.

  1. Understand the Trigger

Do your bad habits come and go? By pinpointing the trigger, it’s easier to eliminate each and every habit from your life.

You may find it difficult to understand what triggers your bad habit. This is common. Dig past what you see on the surface, searching for the trigger that brings you to this point. Once you find this, it’s much easier to ditch your habit once and for all.

  1. Remind Yourself of Your Bad Habits

Breaking a bad habit and then “staying the course” can be extremely difficult. This is why you should constantly remind yourself of the habit that you want to eliminate from your life.

When you wake up in the morning, think about the habit and make it clear to yourself that you’ll continue to progress. In other words, get into (and stay in) the right frame of mind.

  1. Reward Yourself

This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just something that can keep you on the right track.

For example, if you avoid your bad habit for an entire week, treat yourself to a nice dinner or a night at the movies.

Tip: if you don’t reach your goal, don’t give in and reward yourself for simply trying.

  1. Review Your Situation if You Relapse

There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you have broken a bad habit, just to find yourself dealing with a relapse.

No matter how hard you try to avoid this, there’s a good chance it will happen at some point. If it does, review your situation by answering these questions:

  • What triggered the relapse?
  • Could you have done anything to avoid the relapse?
  • What steps can you take in the future to prevent this from happening again?

Every time you relapse, no matter how often it happens, you should address and answer these questions.

Final Thoughts

Let’s face it: everyone has bad habits. While some people choose to live with these, others take action. Since you want to control your destiny, you should never be content with letting a bad habit drag you down.

 

Dr. Dave Campbell Commentary:

Good habits and bad habits reflect the personality traits of an individual. In medicine, physicians are held to the standard of practicing with safety, compassion and quality. This professional bar is set high, and rightfully so. Doctors are tasked with the care of sick, disabled and injured people. Hold yourself to a similar high standard when engaged in interpersonal communication. Beat your bad habits by overwhelming them with good. Be safe with others- that is do not cause harm. Be compassionate-think of the other person’s feeling, and treat that person like you would be treated. And hold yourself to the highest standard of quality in your words, work and thoughts. Being a good and thoughtful person will cause bad habits to melt away-naturally.

 

Bad Moms, Average Moms, Best Moms?

In the best of all worlds, mothers should be honored on a daily basis, not just one day a year. And within that honor, should include an understanding of a basic human reality—no one is perfect. With that, lives the contradiction that no mom is perfect, yet each mom is perfect. The mom we get and the moms we become are perfect for our individual lives. How we were raised and how we are raising children, shapes who we are and all that we can become.

In today’s media-driven society, everyone clamors to post their best photo or most impressive description of their mom. One husband may post that he is grateful for his wife who cleans, gourmet-feeds, brand-name dresses, gently disciplines, and mini-van chauffeurs the kids. How wonderful for him and their children. But is mom getting enough rest or any of her other needs met? Hopefully so. And for that family, that may work out wonderfully.

Yet, what about the mom who gets up and has to hop in the shower so she herself can be clean for work? She doesn’t have time to make pancakes, eggs, and bacon for the kids. But she yells to them from the bathroom, as she dries her hair, to grab a banana, a granola bar, and put a frozen waffle in the toaster. She reminds them to be polite to others on the bus and not to talk to strangers. Is she a less superior mom?

There’s a comedy film soon to be released titled, Bad Moms. Whether the movie turns out to be funny is irrelevant right now—the point is that every woman who’s seen the trailer or heard of the title laughs aloud and is intrigued by the concept.

We’re compelled by this notion because being a “bad mom” swirls in our heads daily. It’s either something we identify with, something we experienced, or something we are deathly afraid of becoming. Whichever of these fit our description, we still deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day—without judgment.

Moms need to be celebrated for bringing us into the world. By their divine grace and through our own years of experience, we learn tolerance and forgiveness.

Your mom was perfect for you. She may have brilliantly nurtured you or, in other ways, caused emotional damage; either scenario, it has supplied an experience into your life that has helped inform who you have become.

As we age, we realize we must take responsibility for our choices and behavior, just as that is the same information we must impart to our children, regardless of the wonderful things we’ve done for them—or the mistakes we’ve made.

Hope your Mother’s day was perfect for the perfectly imperfect mother you are and for the mother that you have (or had.) All we can do is our best, and that is worth celebrating.

 

 

Are You Raising an Entitled Child Without Knowing It?

Doesn’t everyone want well-behaved children? Are we doing our best to prepare our children for the world? Surely, as our children get older, we have less ability to inform their behavior and their decisions.

While they are still impressionable, it’s imperative that as adults, we educate ourselves on best-practice techniques for socialization. When it comes down to it, our aim is to help teach our children how to get along with others.

Oh, Behave

Most behavior is learned. A five-year old wants another stuffed character from the movie Frozen. Mom says, “No, you have enough.” The child will try throwing-a-fit for size. She screams, falls to the ground, and refuses to get up until she gets another Elsa doll.

A scene in the store ensues. The parent is embarrassed and feels helpless. The parent concedes and buys the girl what she demands in order for the chaos to cease. The child just learned that her behavior was reinforced. Hence, “If I tantrum, I get my way.”

Historically, there have been several various styles touted as “the way” to approach parenting. Some had validity and continue to be effective, just as others were an experimental exercise in failure.

From a socio-psychological standpoint, a variation of operant conditioning seems to be a successful basis for bringing forth desired behavior and reducing unwanted behaviors or responses. It can be one technique in your bag of tricks that may prove to be effective.

On That Condition…

In layman’s terms, operant conditioning is basically teaching behavior through reward or punishment. Establish the reward or consequences beforehand. For example, tell your son if he doesn’t study and gets a D on his next math test, you will take his computer/gaming privileges away for a week.

He gets a D, you take it; he doesn’t like this. Next test, he studies and gets a B because he doesn’t want to lose his computer. He’s now learned how to avoid punishment through adapted (improved/desired) behavior. However, negative reinforcement can also breed unwanted results.

OK, so your son got a B. But did he do it because he understands the importance of best effort? Not really. It may not even boost his confidence as a student or give him a sense of pride for doing a job well done. In fact, once that “consequence” is removed, will that “good” behavior remain? (When he goes to college and you can’t take away his computer, will he have learned to study or even care?)

There’s something about reward that tends to be a better overall motivator. When your boss gives you a raise, you feel more apt to continue to apply yourself at work. And, you feel acknowledged and appreciated. Our kids need that too.

Don’t Go Overboard

Beware, however, of over-rewarding or rewarding for a job half-assed. Our youngsters need to learn a sense of earning, but also disappointment. Not every effort in life is going to get a prize. Helping your child find coping skills for disappointment is just as valuable as teaching them a sense of gratitude for accomplishment and reward.

Here’s a brief list of effective tips for raising a well-behaved person:

1. Set boundaries and enforce them: Make them realistic and manageable.

2. Reward desired behavior: (Note: Let’s say your kid screams “No!” and then crawls into bed every time you ask him to do homework. If you teach him to use words like, “I’m tired right now” and ask him not to scream at you, and soon, instead, he stops screaming, but still crawls under the covers—reward the good behavior of NOT screaming. Then work on the next part. Maybe offer 15 minutes of video time after 15 minutes of homework.)

3. Be a good role model by behavior: Let your kids see you treat others with respect. Treat your children with respect as well.

4. Keep your cool: Try not to be “reactionary.” You’re the adult. Ignore bad behavior—it will eventually decrease if no one’s responding to it.

5. Change takes time and effort: You have to be willing to attend to each situation. Be patient and you will see positive results.

6. Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’ve done something wrong or mistakenly

7. Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy: Your kids will love you and respect you when you take charge and implement rules. They may not like it at the time, but ultimately they understand you are there to protect and keep them safe. You can even explain that.

8. Teach and practice gratitude: Remind your kids how lucky you feel to have them in your life. Let them know you are thankful for all that surrounds you. Ask them occasionally what they love in their lives. Practicing gratitude allows us the freedom to care for others in hopes that they can have the best in life like we do.

 

 

Hello Good Fats, Bye-Bye Bread

No one wants to give up bread. And no one says you have to. But, the most recent research points to processed carbohydrates as “deadly”. Contrary to decades of inaccurate reporting, it’s actually the good fats that will prolong your healthy life.

People Think Fat is Bad—But Is it?

We have been programmed to believe that all fats are bad for our health. In truth, all fats are not created equal, nor are they all life-shortening. Yes, trans fats (trans unsaturated fatty acids) are unhealthy. Those are the ones where chemically caused, molecular mutation takes place. That would include vegetable oil, partial- and fully-hydrogenated oil, and shortenings used for deep-frying, among others. These are found in most fast foods, store-bought and even bakery-made cakes, cookies, crackers, bread, and other popular American consumables.

Saturated fats, on the other hand, are good fats. Research published in the August 2017 issue of The Lancet, claimed that people with an approximate saturated fat composition of 35% of their daily diet had a 23% percent lower risk of stroke or early death than those who ate less good fats. That is huge—and not in weight, but in health news.

That’s tough to wrap our brains around after all the “fat-is-bad-for-you” propaganda that’s been drummed into us for years and years.

Participants with a super low intake of saturated fats (somewhere between 3 and 10% of their daily diet) were associated with a higher risk of death. That means that low consumption of good fats is actually detrimental to your health. Time to bring on the sushi, guacamole, hummus, and pistachio nuts! (But maybe not in the same sitting.)

What’s Your Bread and Butter?

Butter has little-to-no protein or fiber benefit, but it offers vitamin K2, omega-3 fatty acid, and saturated fat. Grass-fed butter, as opposed to regular butter, is even healthier because it’s antibiotic- and hormone-free. Butter is better than margarine or any other processed, artificial, or imitation form of its delicious, natural counterpart.

If you’re using grass-fed butter to season or sauté, you are not risking your health; you may even be enhancing it.

Bread, on the other hand, is full of carbohydrates, but the not-so-good kind. That’s because it’s refined and/or processed. Bread can contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which messes with your blood sugar and glucose levels. Simple carbs, like bread and corn, digest easily, but they also make you crash quickly. They screw with your insulin levels, which is eventual cause for type-2 diabetes, weight gain, and also your inability to lose weight.

Carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables are different because they provide nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also un-processed.

The Bread Winner? Think Again…

Anyway you slice it, bread is a sugar provider and producer. If this 18-country study showed that an excess of white flour consumption may increase your risk of early death, do you still want to order your burger between buns?

If you said “yup”, you’re not alone. Of the 135,000 involved in the 7-year study, about half of those folks derived 70% of their daily calories from carbohydrates (and not necessarily from the good sources.)

Clearly, education regarding updated, factual, nutrition-based guidelines are lacking—or no one’s listening—or no one cares.

Fat, Sugar; Carbs, Sugar; Sugar, Sugar

Ingestion of pure or added sugar is not an essential for human health. (BTW, added sugar is an actual detriment.) Our bodies produce or derive the sugar we need for energy from the proper and natural foods we eat. And, that is plenty. Anymore, especially chemically derived, and it becomes a serious health danger.

All of the foods we eat, whether plant-or animal-based contain the trio of nutrients we need for existence—protein, carbohydrates, and fat. How much of each we should put on our plates has been up for debate for decades. Unfortunately, our good health may not be always the priority in the information delivered.

Special interest groups such as: the dairy association, the sugar producers, the red meat council, etc. may have an agenda of their own. The public can often be misguided by propaganda as opposed to positively swayed by scientific research.

In this particular case, the research, once again, is overwhelmingly in favor of losing the processed carbohydrates. If you’re jonesing for some bread, try substituting the craving with some delicious quinoa, wild rice, or baked sweet potatoes. Your arteries, brain, waistline, and family will thank you.

And remember, you are always in charge of your own health. Educate yourself and seek the guidance of those you trust and who are well informed. Also, check out other articles on www,GetThrive.com to learn more about best health practices for yourself and your family.

Sources:

Where to Find Grass-fed Butter

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-is-bread-bad-for-you#section7

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/08/29/Diet-study-suggests-its-carbs-not-fats-that-are-bad-for-you/1151504055850/?utm_source

 

How Can Air Pollution Cause Brain Problems?

It’s bad

We all know that air pollution is bad for our health. But just how bad? Air pollution is actually linked with some pretty serious and shocking health hazards and risks.

Air pollution isn’t just bad for the lungs; it’s also bad for the brain. How, you might ask? While air pollution causes an inflammatory response in the lungs, it also causes the same response in the brain. The particles we breathe in are deposited in the lining of our lungs, causing inflammation.

For example

When you get dust particles or anything in your eyes, your eyes become red, itchy, and inflamed. The same response happens when polluted particles enter the lining in our lungs. Air pollution causes irritation, resulting in inflammation in our lungs.

In fact, heart attacks and strokes are both linked to inflammation of blood vessels. When hazardous air particles enter our lungs and cause inflammation, then there is cause for concern. Therefore, there is a link between air pollution and heart attacks and silent strokes.

So what can we do?

Lowering our risk of brain disease and heart attacks ultimately means lowering our exposure to air pollution. Air pollution is clearly bad for brain health, increases risk for heart attack and stroke, and is even linked to a decrease in cognitive functions.

The theory makes sense

Decreasing your exposure to air pollution is the secret to improving your health. Easier said than done, right? How can we do this other than avoiding our environment each day? This just may mean relocating to a rural area or suburb, avoiding busy or heavily traveled roadways and highways.

For more information on how air pollution can affect your health, or for other health related facts and tips, subscribe to THRIVE at Getthrive.com.

 

 

6 Parenting Tips to Manage Discipline Successfully

The word discipline may have a negative connotation, but it’s actually something useful and necessary. Great outcomes can emerge from effective discipline. Parents often become overwhelmed by the prospect of disciplining their children. Fret no more! Below are 6 simple tips to help manage your child’s behavior successfully.

When parenting, it makes sense that our goal is to increase our children’s positive behavior. At the same time, we want to deter or decrease negative behavior.

When observing and defining behavior, take care to be specific. Saying your kid is “acting like a brat” is general, subjective, and won’t help you to best invoke your disciplining skills. Defining the action, such as your son is “teasing his sister” or “breaking his toys”—those are specifics behaviors that can be targeted for improvement or extinction

1. Explain What’s Expected

You’re not a mind reader and neither is your child. It’s very important that you communicate expectations. If you want your kids to take off their shoes at the front door, let them know. You can write it down and let them read it. You can tell them. Just make sure when you are giving direction that you do it face-to-face. Children get distracted easily—make sure your child actually heard you. If you’d like, you can always ask him to repeat back to you what he heard you say.

2. Practice Do-Overs

When your kid comes running into the house with muddy boots (and she’s been told to take them off at the door), help her practice the rule. Instead of screaming, calmly bring the child back to the front door. Remind her of the rule. Now give her another chance to be successful. Thank her when she takes off the boots. Reiterate that next time, this is the behavior you’d prefer.

3. Be Clear What’s Happening Next

As adults, we make schedules and are the managers of our own time. But we’re also in charge of when our children will be doing something. Give your kids fair warning. If you’re leaving the house in 10 minutes, let them know they need to start wrapping up what’s they’re in the middle of. Giving youngsters notice of upcoming expectations eases their anxiety.

The majority of negative-behavior displays often originate from a child’s anxiety level. (Other sources are lack of sleep and hunger.)

4. Ignore Bad Behavior

Although this sounds absurd (and impossible), it’s not. When your kid is doing something she’s knows she’s not suppose to, it’s mostly to get your attention. If you give her attention by yelling at her, you’ve now reinforced that bad behavior gets noticed. That’s not something you want.

If you look away, don’t respond, don’t freak out, more often than not, the child will cease the behavior. Once she stops, immediately give positive reinforcement by offering attention. She will learn that when she behaves nicely and properly, you are happy to spend time together.

Do NOT actively ignore if your child is hurting herself or another. Use this tip only for annoying behaviors (like incessant talking, tapping you on the arm 800 times, not cleaning up, etc.). Also, do not ignore destructive behavior.

5. Keep Consequences Realistic, Deliverable, and Proportionate

After you’ve told your child he would be receiving consequences for continuing negative behavior, make sure he knows what it’s going to be, beforehand. This gives him the opportunity to stop the bad behavior or accept the consequences.

If he makes the choice to continue with his behavior, don’t overact. Keep your emotions in tact. Clearly, deliver the punishment and briefly remind him why he’s receiving it. There’s no need to yell. That’s won’t help the child learn. He will, however, learn that continuing to throw food around, however, means he doesn’t get to play with the iPad after lunch.

Removing access from a desired item is torture for a kid. If that’s what you choose as a consequence, make the time frame realistic. A short time away from a favorite toy will send a loud message. Also, make sure you follow through with the understood consequences, even if he begs and swears the behavior won’t happen again. It just did. Be strong and do the calm, right thing and that will bring about more desirable results next time he thinks of flinging spaghetti onto the wall.

6. Create Structure

All of these tips for successful disciplining point back to “following rules.” As mentioned, setting up and expressing expectations will define the rules of your home. So, creating structure will help your children follow along with your plan.

If everyone wakes up at the same time every morning, your child will learn “this is when we get ready for our day”, or “this is when we eat breakfast.” If you want your kid to eat breakfast, then be consistent with wake-up time and when food is available.

Bedtime structure is also very important. Proper sleep for everyone is essential. When a child knows a routine and experiences structure, she is more secure. She understands what to expect throughout the day. Rigidity is not particularly healthy, but organizing and experiencing events in a consistent manner will help the disciplinary process.

Of course no ”method” for parenting will be perfect fit for everyone. Being individuals, all with different life circumstances, our challenges will vary. The above tips are offered as helpful tools. Hopefully, some of them will strike a chord for you and your parenting style. For other articles on families and health, check out GetThrive.com

Sources:

https://www.verywell.com/classroom-discipline-tricks-that-will-work-at-home-4110244

https://childmind.org/article/managing-problem-behavior-at-home/