Focus On Changing Your Habits For A Month Before Springing Into Action

Changing a habit is hard work and different processes work for different people. Blogger Sam Spurlin recommends you slow the process way down and concentrate on the reasons why for a full month before you start.

Photo by April.

Spurlin's idea is that you break down a habit into tiny chunks, and then concentrate on those chunks for an extended period of time. This doesn't just include your actions, but your thoughts. That means spending a month just thinking about the habit before making the change.

As an example, Spurlin lays out a process to tackle the bad habit of biting your nails:

  • Spend a month thinking about and writing about why you want to stop biting your fingernails. Get every single reason, thought and impulse down on paper.
  • Write down what you were doing and/or thinking about immediately before each time you started to bite your fingernails.
  • Keep a running tally of every time you notice yourself biting your fingernails.
  • Pick a hand. Focus on only using the nail clipper on that one hand for an entire month. Notice the difference between your hands. Which one feels better?
  • Switch hands. Focus on only using the nail clipper on that one hand for an entire month. Notice the difference between your hands. Which one feels better?
  • Spend a month not biting your fingernails. If you do, notice what you were thinking/doing when you did.
  • Look at your notes and figure out how you can address those specific thoughts/activities (I've noticed I bite my fingernails when I'm reading so I gave myself something to chew on while I read, like a toothpick).

The process sounds absurdly slow, but that's how it's supposed to work. Habit formation is tough and in some cases takes a very regulated approach to really set it. It's different for everyone, but if you've been struggling to form (or get rid of) a habit, it's an approach worth considering.

30 Days Will Not Change Your Life [Sam Spurlin]


    Not necessarily, each person's mind is driven differently. All of your own fingers are not the same. So, yes @kingthor it is way different for everyone. This method may, or may not work for more than a few people here and there.
    The fact that you are constantly writing your habit down, presenting it in front of you, teasing your mind with it, interacting with it nonstop for a long time, instead of taking steps to let it go and allow yourself to be occupied with other things is very tough. I believe the best way to kick a stubborn habit out is to set your mind free. Leave it open to new things - let the world in. You will find it rather easier to be involved with new (and hopefully positive) habits before you even know it!
    Yes, I understand the fact that there are more complicated and nasty habits to quit; from smoking to drinking, being addicted to various types of harmful sources and so forth.. But, at the end, we are only human. We are not a robot, we do not have a "stuck in negative, self destruction mode." Our lives are beautiful and we can shape them to be different whenever our heart desires. Changing does not take much, on the other hand - we cannot let time be our ultimate enemy. Doing good things for ourselves, will eventually influence and help our surroundings in the process. Let us be surrounded with the circles we deserve to be in. Trust me, it will all flow in at that stage.

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