Penalise Your Bad Habits With An Activity From A Good One

Penalise Your Bad Habits With An Activity From A Good One
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Giving yourself consequences is a great way to motivate you to start a new habit. Rather than simply punishing yourself, every time you partake in a bad habit (like breaking your diet with pizza), compensate with activities from a good one (like doing some pushups).

Photo by Jason Scragz

As tips blog MakeUseOf explains, bad habits are difficult to break, but having “consequences” with positive benefits doubles as a motivator to break the old habit, while also getting the benefit of the new one. For example, the Army particularly likes push-ups as a form of reprimand, because the “punishment” is physically beneficial. You can apply the same concept to your own life:

Whenever you find yourself putting off your work, get your body moving. A 7-minute workout,the thoracic bridge exercise, a sprint, a walk, a swim — anything that gets your blood circulating will do. You can use other positive choices like preparing a healthy meal, drinking a smoothie, or exercising your brain as the corrective activity.

How you pair up your habits can vary based on your routine. It’s a good idea to make the consequence habit something that’s immediately available when you indulge. So, for example, for every half hour you spend watching TV, do one chore cleaning. Or, for every five minutes you spend on Facebook at work, reply to an office email. Eventually, you’ll either start getting in the swing of the new habit, or at least be more aware of and resistant to the old one.

How To Kill Bad Habits With Bad Habits In The New Year [MakeUseOf]


  • Wow, that’s just wrong on so many levels…

    So you want to assign a negative experience (“consequence”, aka punishment) to a good habit. And the message is that it’s okay to eat that pizza as long as you do some pushups afterwards?
    Having done compulsory military service myself, I can tell you that in the army you’re not contending with your own willpower – not in respect to pushups. Some sadistic young corporal acts as your willpower and part of his job, in fact, is to show you that your willpower (counter-will) is futile.

    Sorry, but I think this is a terrible idea.

    • Actually my father used it well to give up smoking. Every time he got a craving he’d spend 3 minutes on a rowing machine. He quickly stopped having cravings – though he still hates the rowing machine.

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