Inspiring Thoughts from EAC

Living Healthy: How We Do It; Why We Don’t

living healthy

By: Steve Gainey, MA, LLP, ADS, CAADC, EAC Clinical Specialist –

Living Healthy.  It’s a concept we hear and see everywhere – on local and national news, commercials, break rooms, social media, hundreds of books, and we often talk to friends and family about it, too. There are new superfoods introduced regularly, along with “the best” diet and exercise plans.  We hear about ways to take care of our mental health and how to incorporate it more in our daily lives.  The story is often the same:  we could eat healthier, we could exercise more, we could meditate, and so on and so forth. In other words, we could bring some self-care into our lives, even if we are busy.

So, why don’t we?  WE RESIST!

Do some of these sound familiar to you?

  • It’s too hard.
  • It’s too much to think about.
  • There is not enough time.
  • I am not motivated.
  • I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.

If the last bullet point strikes a chord, remember that change does not happen overnight.  In fact,  in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Phillippa Lally and her research team had people choose one thing (drink a bottle of water at lunch, run for 15 minutes before dinner, etc.) to model habit formation in the real world.  What they discovered is that, on average, it takes at least 2 months, or about 66 days to create a new habit!

Therefore, it takes time and dedication.  It also takes an understanding of your resistance.

In therapy, I call the resistance to something – ambivalence.  According to, the definition of ambivalence is: the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something.

As a therapist and a person, I have dealt with ambivalence with myself and with many clients. Most of us deal with thoughts of wanting or needing to change something, but we don’t. The ambivalence circle continues over and over again. Ambivalence does not mean you don’t care, but you are torn in what direction to go.

Sometimes, we want to avoid looking at why we don’t want to make the change. We feel we may convince ourselves not to change.

To help you get started and bring some clarity about the ambivalence you may have about an issue, I’d encourage you to use this handout, as a guide. It is a good practice and tool to use if you feel you are in a place of ambivalence.

Additionally, reach out to EAC to set up a time to talk with one of our counselors. We’re here to help!

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