In the world of recovery from addictions, a high risk situation is one that could tempt you to be thrown back into old habits. Maybe it’s the favorite drinking hole where you’d hook up with friends after work, or a nasty comment which would cause you to reach for that abusive substance.
In our realm, being that of establishing a health habit, for example, “high risk” situations come up all the time. They masquerade as “excuses” and “obstacles” that keep us from keeping our promises to ourselves to exercise everyday.
Here are a few tools that might help you when facing “high risk” situations:
1. Remember a time you overcame an obstacle (big or small). Recall how great it felt. Douse your mind with those happy feelings. Use those happy feels to help you seek MORE happy feelings. Head towards the door, put your shoes on, walk out the front door with a blissful demeanor!
2. Think of a day when you felt close to not following through on your commitment to do your daily exercise. What caused you to consider not going? What tipped you towards going anyways? Were you glad you finally went out? How did you feel if you didn’t go out? What could you “learn”?
3. Write down 3 high-risk situations. Then, beside each of them, list three things you could SAY to yourself that could help you withstand the urge to break your new habit. List three things you could DO to keep you from not following through on your commitment. Lastly, come up with an image you could think of our look at that would inspire you to hold your path of resistance. Click on the next link to download a copy of a worksheet you could use for Dealing with High Risk Situations created by our very own Squamish addictions counsellor Jeff Thompson.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that I have a hard time exercising in the evening after work. I find the couch too comfortable, my favorite shows are on or maybe it’s family time (and I’d have to give up to exercise at this time). Obviously, morning exercise would do the trick for me but I’m a bit resistant to giving up my sleep and my cozy bed. The alarm clock goes off and I “SHOULD” get up.
3 things I could SAY to myself to get out the door for my 30 minutes of walking are…”Sue, if you do it now, it’s done for the day, I know you’re tired but remember how energized you get after exercise?” OR “Sue, Grey’s Anatomy is on tonight and since you LOVE that show and it’s a new episode, you won’t want to exercise during the show. Get up now so you can enjoy your show tonight” OR “Sue, you’ve got to log something in that Fitness Journal. The whole day is jam-packed. Got on with it NOW”.
3 things I could DO to get myself exercising in the morning. Walk to my favorite coffee shop for a morning cup of joe. That gets me moving because I love the smells, the flavors and the warmth. Put a really good audio book on my iPod- that gets me walking for hours actually! Pick up Sammy’s leash and watch her wiggle with excitement, that naturally gets me going!
What image could I use to motivate myself? Well a photo of Sammy comes to mind!
Not so hard to do, is it. Writing it down lets you see that you’ve got strategies, you ARE resourceful. You are practically your own coach or “cheerleading squad”. This “high risk” management exercise can be applied to many facets of life- I’m thinking it could help me tackle some procrastination habits I’ve got…
Good luck and keep up the great work everyone!