Making new habits is difficult because it forces our brains to alter what comes naturally to us. Naturally, this leads to moments where we say “Ah, screw it” and go back to our old ways. Identifying when these happen can be key to overcoming them and sticking to the habit.
As business blog Entrepreneur explains, “Ah, screw it” moments are those tiny points of friction in our otherwise typical routines that make new habits difficult to form. When you decide to set aside time to learn something new each day, you don’t instinctively think how your existing routine will affect your willingness to do that. Finding those moments, and then circumventing those circumstances can help keep you on track:
When I sat down to analyse why I wasn’t going to the gym, I realised: my closet was in another room. That meant I had to walk out in the cold [to] put on my clothes. It was easier to just stay in bed. Once I realised this, I folded my clothes and shoes the night before. When I woke up the next morning, I would roll over and see my gym clothes sitting on the floor. The result? My gym attendance soared by over 300%.
The same thinking applies in reverse — want to eliminate a certain behaviour? First, make it harder to do. Then replace it with something worthwhile.
Putting obstacles in your own way is just one way to manipulate your own triggers. But you don’t even have to get super psychological about it. Just make good habits easier and bad habits harder for yourself in the moments when you’re most vulnerable to saying “Ah, screw it.”
Forget ‘Lifehacks.’ Form Good Habits Instead. [Entrepreneur]