Stop. Challenge. Choose.

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Need a little help staying on track during the holidays? It’s absolutely okay to indulge in your choice of treats, whether it’s a great glass of red wine or Christmas cookies, yet we also want to feel healthy to enjoy the fun activities…
Stop. Challenge. Choose. is a helpful way to give you the magic pause, where you make the decisions that change your life or keep you on automatic habits.
The power of this technique starts with the first step: Stop. When so much of our daily lives happens on autopilot, becoming more present and mindful helps us to interrupt that automation. Your Habit of Disease might be to reach for a sugary snack when you’re feeling upset, but if we can stop you, even for a moment, you can instead make the healthier choice. What should you do if you struggle with stopping in those moments? It’s simple: Add more stops.
I’ve shared this story before, but it’s a good example of how we can add more stops to Stop. Challenge. Choose. if we feel the first stop is not enough. If I’m having a challenging conversation, perhaps a difficult discussion with my daughter, I use Stop. Challenge. Choose. to avoid being reactionary. If I’m not careful, I might say something that puts me below the line and hurts a relationship I care deeply about. You have probably had a similar experience where part of you knows that you shouldn’t say what’s on your mind but yet feel powerless to stop it.
That’s the same feeling you have when you know that you shouldn’t eat more chips but somehow can’t stop yourself. Or if you know you should get up and go for your morning walk but can’t resist going back to sleep instead.
Here’s how I make the Stop in Stop. Challenge. Choose. Stronger: I stop again. If I feel that I need more time to choose the best words, I take a long drink of water.
I can’t talk if my mouth is full, and that pause gives me more time to make better choices.
Reflect on the Habits of Health that you find the most difficult to build, and start to build extra stops into your routine. 
For example, when we encourage you to get rid of all of the unhealthy food in your home, we are adding more stops between you and your craving for sweets. Without sweets in the house, you have to go to the store, get food off the shelf, check out, and come home before you can give in to your craving. That’s a lot of extra time to challenge yourself to make the healthier choice.
If you can’t get rid of the junk food at home, perhaps because your family isn’t joining you on your journey yet, you can still add more stops. Instead of having the snacks sitting on the counter, put them up high in a cabinet and behind a healthier option. 
Those few extra seconds might not seem like much, but like a long drink of water, the additional time of having to dig for the snacks could be the time you need to properly challenge yourself to be better.

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