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Briefs: Make a habit of banishing bad habits

Make a habit of Banishing bad habits

Got some bad habits? No? Lying to yourself qualifies. So break a few habits:

Make a list. Write down all the reasons you want to stop a certain behavior — how it's hurting you and why getting rid of it will help. Read that list — often.

Become more aware. Many habits are hard to break because they are unconscious impulses. Make a written or mental note every time you do something unwanted such as biting your nails or yelling at your kids.

Substitute other activities. If you lose your temper often, for example, practice deep breathing or go for a walk.

Break it down. Tackle bad habits one at a time. To stay motivated, keep your goals simple and realistic.

Reward yourself. Before you begin, decide what you'll do to celebrate with every baby step you complete.

Get help for addictions. Some habits, particularly substance abuse and smoking, involve a real physical or emotional dependency and may require professional attention.

Bye-bye gym

Gym memberships are something of a luxury these days for many of us. But without the usual suspects — treadmills, elliptical trainers, cable machines and free weights — is it easy to get a decent workout? Take your workout to the beach or a hiking trail. Get away from the city and hike through the woods and parks, perfect places to practice interval training and improve cardiovascular endurance, as well as strengthen core and leg muscles. Our miles of beaches are a fitness boon. Muscles must work harder when feet dig into sand, ramping up the difficulty of even the easiest workouts.

Workday tips

The work blues can hit hard. If you feel tired or unmotivated during the day, try these pick-me-up tips from

Drink some green tea. Its small amount of caffeine will give you a boost, and its antioxidants will help protect you from some chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Take a walk to get the blood pumping to your heart and brain. A walk outside in the sun will also activate vitamin D in your body and improve your mood.

Munch on a snack rich in protein, not sugar. A sugar high comes with a subsequent sugar low, so try something else: a slice of whole-wheat toast, a handful of nuts, yogurt and granola or hummus.

Take a moment to stand up and stretch. Focus on the muscles in your shoulders, neck and upper back. Breathe deeply as you stretch, inhaling through your nose and exhaling slowly through pursed lips.

Compiled from Times staff, wire reports

Briefs: Make a habit of banishing bad habits 01/26/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 26, 2009 4:24pm]
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