Personal Change Starts with Positive Changes and Diet Changes
September 7th, 2018
Making changes in our daily lives can be a complex and difficult process. Especially since we must always include both logical reasoning and emotions in every decision we make, there can be multiple steps to making any change in life. In order to alter any regular action, habit or thought process that we engage in on a regular basis, we must give equal attention and credibility to our thoughts and feelings about making this change. Changing a regular pattern of behavior can be difficult since it has become a part of the overall blueprint of our daily activity, no matter how minor we may think it is. However, the fact that we have identified something in our lives that we desire to change is a move toward a step forward. If this change will involve revising, altering or abandoning a habit or conscious action that we now know as unhealthy or unproductive in our lives, this is definitely a major step ahead.
Identify the Purpose of the Behavior You Want to Change
Before attempting to alter any habit or regular pattern of activity in your life, you first need to identify the purpose of this behavior. Once you do this, it will become much easier to see how best to make a change that will not seem disruptive, as in the following examples:
• Daily Breakfast Habits. – If you need to change a personal daily eating habit, you first need to identify and understand the purpose of this habit. For example, if you usually make a brief stop at a fast-food drive-in window on your way to work each weekday morning for a sweet roll and coffee to avoid being late, you know that you are giving your need to be on time more importance than your personal health and well-being.
Now that you realize the value of making eating nutritious breakfast foods a major focus every morning, you can more easily rearrange your morning schedule to allow for eating a bowl of whole grain cereal or some yogurt and fresh fruit before leaving home. Fortunately, in many communities and office buildings today, food courts and cafes offer these types of healthy breakfast foods, too, so you may just need to stop for your breakfast foods at a different place on your way to work.
• Paperwork Pileup. – If you always have a pile of uncompleted paperwork on your desk at the office or at home, take a few minutes to examine these papers. Did you put them aside to look at later because they included forms to fill out? Were you not sure how to handle them, or were you simply tired of looking at papers when adding them to the growing stack? Once you realize why you developed this ongoing behavior pattern, you can more easily see how to change this behavior for the better.
By sorting the papers according to what is needed to deal with the issue they present, you can divide them into smaller, manageable groups. It will then be easier to get through each stack and file or discard the papers. Also, when you have several small stacks of papers on your desk, you are more likely to have the desire to go through them one by one and clear your desk for the next project. It may even be time for your healthy lunch—a fresh veggie salad and a wheat-bran roll with your favorite natural nut butter.
• Dirty Dishes Gridlock. – If your kitchen is impossible to navigate on some days because the sink and counters are overflowing with dirty dishes, pots and pans, it is time to examine this problem. You may be letting a simple issue like regular kitchen clean-up keep you from preparing and eating healthy meals and snacks. Plan time every night to unload and load your dishwasher (or to wash dishes, if your kitchen is without one) while you watch the nightly news or listen to your favorite music.
Make a rule of never leaving dirty dishes in your kitchen overnight. You will be amazed at how refreshing it is to walk into a clean, clear kitchen early in the morning or when you arrive home from work, classes or events at night. Once you accept this new, clean and orderly habit, the older, messy one will most likely seem unattractive to you.
• Lazy Shopping Habits. – You may find yourself shopping for groceries and produce at the most convenient stores, rather than the ones that offer all-natural or organic foods simply because the stores selling less healthy foods are nearby your home or office. If you take a minute to consider this issue, you will quickly see the value of going the longer distance to buy pure, healthy foods.
Unless the stores offering natural or organic foods are in the next town or a lengthy drive from your neighborhood, you can plan time in your busy weekly schedule to do your healthy food shopping . If you need some food items that are only sold in stores not convenient for driving to and from, check to see if these stores have reasonably priced delivery services to resolve this issue. Lazy and unhealthy shopping habits are not worth the risk of poor nutrition and declining health down the road of life.
Your Steps to Success with Habit and Behavior Changes
Once you have succeeded with making a lasting change to a habit or personal behavior pattern, you will realize that you have gone through some major steps of importance along the way, such as the following:
• Understanding How the Old Behavior Served You. – During the process of making a change in a disruptive, non-productive or annoying behavior pattern or habit, you gained understanding of how this old behavior has served you, often for a long time. Although this behavior may have served or been helpful to you in certain ways, this does not mean that it served you well or was good for you. It simply helped you get through each day. After examining this habitual action or activity, you realize that is was most likely unpleasant or annoying to you. However, until you made the decision to change this behavior for the better, it was easier to let it continue without conscious intervention on your part.
• Experience the Discomfort Associated with Change. – Try not to discount or turn away from the uncomfortable and unsettling feelings that change brings. Let yourself feel this discomfort and try to understand why you are affected strongly by this change of a habit or behavior. It is helpful to realize that part of these feelings of discomfort are due to the fact that the former, non-productive habit had grown comfortable as a repetitive behavior over time. Any change from the “norm” can seem distasteful or bothersome. However, an equally important reason for your discomfort at changing the old habit may be the extent of its constant interference or hindrance to accomplishing certain necessary daily tasks or activities. Once you have this perspective on how this behavior has affected you, it will be much easier to transfer your focus to embracing the new, improved behavior you have chosen to replace it.
• Be Satisfied with Gradual Progress toward Change. – Be prepared to take a series of small steps toward accomplishing major changes in your life rather than a single giant leap. Refrain from placing time limits on making successful changes to old behaviors and habits, since some long accepted patterns of activity will take longer than others to alter. Especially if you are making a major change in your daily diet and eating habits, this may take a longer period of time than changing use of an abrasive slang word or updating the way you style your hair. As a first step to eating a healthier diet, you may want to add natural veggies or fruits to you current diet while cutting back on sweets and fats before advancing to an all-natural, organic or vegan diet.
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