What do you get outta your bad habits?


How are you all? I have been watching and reading a fair bit of weight loss stuff lately as next year I am looking at getting back into some Personal Training. Just admitted it out loud! 🙂 Anyway…. I noticed a common theme amongst some of the stories. These stories related to weight loss or lack thereof, but honestly they could be applied to any negative habits. The common theme was that these people were all “getting something” from being overweight.

Now if you put them all in a room and asked them if they wanted to lose weight my guess is 100% of them would say yes. But in reality something was holding them all back, or several somethings. We all want to improve, be healthier, work smarter, be more patient etc etc. Frequently though we hold ourselves back. We may have excuses for being held back, some more genuine than others. Wanting change isn’t enough though especially when there are really strong forces at play holding us back. I think we often don’t acknowledge those forces and face them in practical ways head on.

You can buy all the gear, hire a trainer, read the books and not get there if you aren’t willing to sacrifice or even acknowledge the “benefits” of remaining the same.  During Uni I tutored High School students sitting their end of year 12 exams.  I will never forget being hired to tutor a girl who lived in a very nice house in a very nice suburb. I was getting paid a pretty high hourly rate (compared to other jobs). I showed up day 1 and the girl answered the door, pretended to be someone else and told me I had the wrong house. After several awkward phone conversations I realised it was the right house and meet the right girl she just didn’t want to see me. Next time I showed up she jumped out the window and the final time she was less comical and honest and said she just didn’t want to study. Her Parents gave up after that I believe (or at least on my help as the solution)!

It can be difficult to accept that we are getting something positive from our negative habits. I think it can be helpful to look at the costs and benefits. One of the biggest benefits in staying put is simply that it is just easier to stay put, it doesn’t involve change, or effort, or work. Change can be scary and challenging. Also it is comfortable to maintain our bad habits. We developed those habits along the way as coping mechanisms for various situations in our lives and we kept them because they sort of “worked”. So giving them up is not going to be easy. Maybe we started smoking to fit in and now we are addicted or drinking to relax and now one glass is more like 3-5 a night. Maybe we eat to comfort ourselves and distract ourselves from being present in the moment.

Whatever the habit is it really doesn’t matter, but why we hold onto that habit does! Next time you are taking a moment out of your day to be mindful think about a bad habit or habits you have held onto for a long time and struggled to give up. Why are you so attached? How can you tackle that situation head on? What habits can you work on forming instead that are healthier and more functional?

Jess xoxox

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12 Responses to What do you get outta your bad habits?

  1. Great post Jess and I can very much relate cos I really cling to my bad habits. I KNOW what I need to do and what changes I need to make and (mostly) hate a lot of stuff about my life now, but I just can’t make those changes.

    I don’t know if it’s about stepping outside of my current comfort zone or what but do need to think more about what I’m getting out of NOT making those changes.

    Thanks for reminding me it’s something I need to work on!
    Deborah recently posted…Book review: Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet EvanovichMy Profile

    • Yes we are all a work in progress! When you are ready I think it will all fall into place for you! Weight loss is so complex though, I know it’s just energy in vs energy out, but the mental game is much more complicated for many!

  2. In psychiatry it was called secondary gains. I’ve seen that a lot with many behaviors, with illness, and with malingering. I don’t think of it as often with weight issues although perhaps I’m just not seeing it. I do understand gaining weight as a protective barrier after a bad relationship or abuse. In my opinion, not losing weight is more related to just wanting to eat food more than willing to give that up. Maybe that’s what you are referring to. I think of that as a primary gain 🙂

    Being a Scorpio, it is said that we can change more easily than other signs. The Phoenix is one of our three symbols (Eagle and scorpion are the other two). If I want to change a behavior, I stop the old and begin a new one till it becomes my habit. With other barriers, I take that leap of faith. I have found that our greatest joy is often on the other side of our greatest fear.
    Dr. J recently posted…Dr. J’s Last Word on the Obesity ParadoxMy Profile

    • The people I mostly read about were enjoying certain aspects of being overweight, being the victim, needing someone to help them etc. So whilst they “wanted” to lost weight they hadn’t really come to terms with letting go of the benefits. If that makes any sense. Love your perspective though always interesting! Especially since you really know what you are talking about. My twins are Scorpios so shall be interesting to watch!

  3. This is a great post and thank you for sharing. I do agree with you that I think we all have a bad habit we are trying to get rid of. I will definitely remember that.

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