Anticipate Your Triggers

October 15th, 2012 · No Comments

When it comes to our health and wellness we generally have good intentions to exercise more, eat less, quit smoking, and lower stress. However, even the best intentions can fail if we don’t first identify our triggers and then put a plan in place to address how we’re going to handle them.

A trigger is something that causes us to want to engage in a certain behavior. It can be emotional, physical or habitual, or a combination of all three. Here are a few examples of common triggers and the result:

  • A desire to take the elevator instead of the stairs due to fatigue
  • A cigarette after the morning cup of coffee
  • A food craving due to a negative emotion (sadness, anger)
  • Increased stress due to a perceived, but not yet realized, outcome

Of course, this is hardly an all-encompassing list, as triggers are very individualized. That is why we each must start by identifying what our triggers are. Only then can we begin to anticipate those situations that may get in the way of our intentions. Let’s get started by using the steps versus elevator scenario:

  • Be thorough. List every trigger you can think of that has, in the past, caused you to exhibit an unwanted behavior. Is fatigue the only reason you favor the elevator?
  • Make a plan. What will you do instead of succumbing to the trigger? For example, instead of pressing the elevator button, remind yourself that exercise can actually help you fight off the fatigue and increase your overall energy level.
  • Try it. Take the stairs today. See how you feel.
  • Give yourself time. Maybe you were a bit out of breath when you took the stairs, but you did it. Build on your success and try it again next time!
  • Analyze the results. If it worked, you now have the motivation to continue your plan. If it doesn’t, could you identify the reason it didn’t? In this scenario, if you usually take the elevator three floors catch the ride for two floors and hit the steps for one.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Remember, we all have different triggers that produce different results, and there is no one universal way to address each.

If this sounds way too simple, perhaps it’s because many folks tend to over-think this process and made their desired goals too complicated in the past. Small steps and changes will lead to small gains and achievements. Slowly work your way up the ladder (or steps) instead of trying to leap directly to the top! Give it a shot. What have you got to lose? For more information and ideas log onto our Healthy Living Rochester website to gain the facts and insightful details you need to live a healthier lifestyle!

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