Dr. Rivera

Dr. Karla Rivera is a district-wide psychologist here in Irvington. She is here to provide support for children and families as we face these challenging times.

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Bad Habit? Tips to Break It!

With the stress and monotony of quarantine, it was easy to form some bad habits. Maybe you haven’t been eating very healthily, or you can’t remember the last time you really exercised. Maybe it’s something else? If you are in a rut and want to make a change, here are some tips to make it happen!:

Practice Mindfulness: Try being mindful throughout your day. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Notice when you are doing the behavior you want to change. What triggers it? Is there a pattern you can see?

Come up with a plan: Think of a strategy to replace your habit with something else. Make sure the new habit is something you will enjoy- or it won’t stick! If you have been sitting around and want to be more active, pick something that you will enjoy and can keep doing. Make sure it’s practical- try something basic like taking a walk, or trying a beginning yoga class on youtube. If you jump into an intense workout that leaves you exhausted and sore- chances aren’t great that you’ll keep it up. Keep it simple and doable!

Keep a journal. Write down the reasons you want to stop the bad habit- how is it affecting your life? How will the new habit help to improve your life? You may need to do this many times to keep reminding yourself.  

Visualize Your success: Imagine yourself practicing the new habit. See yourself doing this successfully and envision how it will feel. Practice this visualization everyday. If your new habit is to take a walk daily- imagine yourself outside, the sights and sounds you would take in, imagine the sense of accomplishment. Visualization can help motivate us to action.

Check Your Progress: Keep track of how you’re doing. Set weekly goals. Start small so you can be easily successful and build your way up. Start with one walk a week, or one healthy dinner. Once you’ve accomplished this, try increasing your goal little by little. Check in with yourself about how it’s going. Note your progress in your journal! Write how each week went and how you feel- check and see if you need to make adjustments.

Stay Accountable: Create rewards for yourself for your success. Choose something nice to do for yourself at the end of each week when you have met your goal. For more accountability, tell a friend or loved one about the change you’re making. Set a time to check in with them each week about how it’s going to help you stay motivated! 

Remember changes that last are built over time- have patience with yourself, take these steps to stay motivated, and you will see lasting change.