Another day, another memes (I invited anyone to tag me with a meme in return for a link and a free copy of my forthcoming ebook). Don’t worry, I am not going to tell my life story like yesterday, this one will be about you rather than me 🙂
Success is partly about good habits. Good habits help you get stuff done and fixing the bad habits removes self-constraining behaviour. All good, but how?
David asks “How do you make changes?”
if you wanted to improve your life by changing a habit – how would you set about it?
I’ll tell you how I have made changes. I’ve found the only way to get rid of bad habits is to form new good ones.
We pretty much always know what we ought to be doing instead of a bad habit. In most cases we cling on to the bad habit because of comfort, it is easier, more enjoyable. In addition, the downside feels distant. The consequences are normally not instant.
For example eating that extra donut. It feels good. Now. Being fat is forgotten for the moment. That heart attack might get you eventually but not likely right now.
Negotiating with yourself ain’t gonna work. If the alternative felt better we wouldn’t need to try to remove the habit. You have to engage your pleasure center not just your logic 🙂
Sometimes you can force yourself to form a new good habit. If your problem is being late to work then set your alarm for an earlier time and make sure you set the new pattern for 21 days straight (including weekends). Keep it up and you ought to have a new wake-up time. Of course slip and you go right back to where you started.
A lot of us can’t just decide on a new habit and ta-daa, there it is. The solution is “self binding”. I wrote an article a while ago about Self binding and willpower, see what you think.
Self-binding, in this context, means finding ways to commit yourself to a course of action where the consequences of not are out of your control. It could be as simple as a bet with a friend or at the extreme informing the police to arrest the driver of your car if found out after 10pm.
So what you do is give yourself a reward for good behaviour and/or an unpleasant consequence for bad behaviour. Continue with the good habit long enough and you should have imprinted a new pattern.
Have you ever managed to lose a bad habit? Let us know in the comments …