In my coaching practice I’ve met a fair few people with the the same unwanted habitual behaviour. While the brand may differ the vice is the same. They reach for the biscuits! We are a nation of biscuit lovers and this seemingly small habit is bringing some of us down. It’s a habit that is standing in the way of our desire to keep trim and eat like we know we should. This is a habit I have owned, used, and ultimately abused and I want us to question, what am I attempting to do when I reach for the biscuits?
I’m not hungry or tired, I’m looking to reward myself for today’s work. The humble biscuit is my prize for the effort I’ve put in, for biting my tongue, for waiting my turn and for managing to simultaneously clean up and create mess in my daily culinary pursuits. So what’s wrong with that, you might ask. Well, I eat the biscuits to feel a sense of reward but it falls woefully short, leaving me dissatisfied and on the lookout for what else I could have!
The trouble is if I don’t identify what it is I need, in that moment, then I can’t meet that need.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the occasional biscuit as long as the occasion isn’t everyday that ends in ‘day’. Sometimes a biscuit is all that will do. A biscuit wields great power in my house, it can be the difference between my son waking up from a nap to wage war or advocate peace. Nothing shifts his mood better.
For me, using biscuits as a self-reward is literally one of my unwanted habitual behaviours, however, ‘reaching for the biscuits’ could be any number of things, from a glass of wine every evening or checking social media 50 billion times a day! Whatever ‘reaching for the biscuits’ means to you, here is how to interrupt that unwanted pattern of behaviour.
Step 1 is analysis. You do this by asking yourself: What is it you need? What’s your motivation?
When you know what you need, you can then start to meet that need.Whether it’s comfort, love, boredom or to feel energised, you can reflect on it and decide what to do about it.
Acknowledging your motivation for the biscuits is crucial. Asking yourself, what am I trying to do by eating these? Answers might include: I’ve had a bad day and I’m using the biscuits as a reward. I’m just tired and I want to feel energised. I don’t feel loved right now so I want to feel comforted. Whatever your reason, you need to be aware of it and ask what else could I do to get my needs satisfied.
Step 2 is options. Make a list of all the things that make you feel happy, loved, energised, whatever the reason is that makes you ‘reach for the biscuits’.
I reach for the biscuits because I want a reward for the efforts I put in with my students, clients and family. My list of happiness includes having a hot bath, listening to music that I love to sing or dance to, cuddle my son, make a smoothie, listen to a podcast, pet the dog or call my Mum. Your list is for you, think carefully about what makes you feel good and next time you ‘reach for the biscuits’, question your motivation and choose from your lists.
Break that habit and feel empowered by your own awareness. You know why you do it, so let’s interrupt that pattern of behaviour and get a, much needed, handle on it.