People regularly seek advice on how to manage “triggers” that do not serve their health in a positive way. They will regularly list triggers such as “when I drink coffee I want a cigarette” or “I crave sweets when I am stressed” and “When I am around friends at dinner that eat bad I crave what they are having.” If you are trying to change anything that you struggle with then you may have triggers that “make” you do the thing that you are trying to change. It is an automatic response to an external cue or event that may seem uncontrollable. On the other side of the coin however is the multitudes of people who have made the change you are seeking and learned to manage the triggers that now manage you. Here are some of the ways that you can manage your triggers and achieve the health goals and life that you are seeking!
- Keep your goals at the top of your priority list. Learning to manage your internal response by focusing on your goals when faced with an external trigger. Giving thought and energy to the craving or fighting against the trigger will only lead to you giving in to it. Acknowledge that this is a trigger in the moment and say to yourself something like, “I really want that _________ but I want my health goal more. I am moving toward my health goal with all that I can.” Focus on success!
- Plan for events or cues that you know may be triggers and have alternatives in place if possible. Knowing healthier options at a restaurant in advance and sticking to it, eating before you go to the party, and having support outside of the “trigger environments” can help you get through the minutes or hours that traditionally have led to unhealthy choices. Manage yourself and stop allowing the trigger to manage you.
- Keep practicing your healthy choices. There are times that you will give into the trigger and choose an unhealthy option. Get back to good health choices as quickly as possible. The more you prolong the unhealthy choices the longer it will take you to get back on track. Do not judge yourself harshly. Learn from the experience and how you can make a healthier choice next time and continue to move forward with your goal. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO MANAGE THE EXTERNAL EVENTS IN YOUR LIVES! YOU CAN ONLY MANAGE THE WAY YOU INTERNALLY RESPOND! CHOOSE GOOD HEALTH!
BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!