Focus On Limiting Your Bad Habits First, Before Quitting Them

Focus On Limiting Your Bad Habits First, Before Quitting Them

Quitting a bad habit doesn't come naturally. Our brains aren't built for suddenly breaking out of a routine. Instead, when trying to quit, focus on indulging in your bad habit in a consistent, limited way. Photo by Chris Vaughn.

As Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, by focusing on how often you do something, you can make yourself naturally inclined to quit over time. You may be used to smoking a bunch of cigarettes a day, or drinking soft drink whenever you're thirsty. If you change that habit to five cigarettes a day, or one bottle of soft drink every day, you can build up your self-control slowly over time:

Whatever it is you shouldn't be doing, you don't have to stop yet. (Doesn't that sound nice?) Don't try to reduce the habit, reduce the variability in the habit. In other words, don't even try to quit smoking; try to smoke the exact same number of cigarettes each day. Or only check Facebook your usual 90 times an hour. This tiny effort toward self-control can lead to a decrease in bad habits over time, unconsciously.

You don't even necessarily need to reduce how much you indulge in a habit at this stage. Just count it and be consistent. Exercise the self-control muscle by putting a feasible limit on your habit first, then you can reduce it over time later. Eventually, you can reduce that number to zero, but get started by quantifying your current habit first.

This Is The Lazy Way To Kill Bad Habits: 8 Secrets From Research [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]


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