Life Hacks Are Habit-Forming Training Wheels: Know When To Take Them Off

Life hacks are always wonderful when you begin, because everything suddenly seems to make sense. You had a problem, a clever solution appears to solve it, and you've got a smile on your face again. Then a little time passes and that life hack starts to become annoying or tedious. That's because you don't need it anymore. You solved the problem. It's time to take off the training wheels and let that life hack go.

Photo by Hobvias Sudoneighm.

Life doesn't require constant change. Sometimes we need a helping hand to solve problems here and there, but if we're in a perpetual stage of self-improvement, then we're never good enough for ourselves. While there's nothing wrong with being open to change and striving to be better when there's something to strive for, constantly trying to improve oneself is stressful and problematic. It's easy to become a life-hack addict and forget the purpose of life hacking in the first place. The goal is to solve a problem, make your life easier, or just learn to do something better. Your goal is to develop a good habit. Once you develop that habit, you don't need the life hack anymore.

Take, for example, a diet plan. Eating healthy doesn't have to be complicated, but if you're making a significant change, you're going to have to at least remember a few rules. Maybe you've picked something simple like eating healthy by focusing on a food's colour. Initially you're going to be very diligent about making choices and forcing yourself to pick the right foods. You might research those choices, make sure you're making good ones, and put a lot of effort into the change you're making. You want to be diligent. You want to do your best. This isn't a bad thing, but the problem occurs when you're doing this indefinitely. At some point you have to trust yourself, and that means letting go of the life hack. When you've got the hang of a new change in your life, you don't need rules to live by anymore. All you need to do is trust that you'll make good choices most of the time, even if those choices don't follow a life hack you employed all of the time.

Hack your life as needed, but take off the training wheels when a habit is formed. Your willpower is limited, so don't waste it on maintaining a good habit you've already formed.


    I agree. The stress you can put yourself under by religiously adhering to life hacks and becoming obsessed by them can be more damaging to your health and well-being than the habit you are trying to change!

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