When one person helps someone else indulge a bad habit, we call them an enabler. But what about when you make your own bad habits easier? If you want to stop enabling yourself, start making your own bad habits a pain in the arse. Photo by Katy Warner.
As advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, one of the best ways to break a bad habit is to make it more difficult. Even adding an extra 20 seconds to your habit can give you enough time to break the cycle. Take the batteries out of your remote if you want to stop watching so much TV. Don't buy the ice cream at the grocery store if you want to resist eating too much of it at home. Creating an interrupt for your bad habit is a handy first step to breaking it.
So how do we start the rewiring? First, identify the bad habit. Next, make it a pain in the ass to do. Cornell professor Brian Wansink's research showed that just making food harder to reach caused people to eat less and lose weight. Harvard happiness expert Shawn Achor refers to it as the "20 second rule."...
You don't want it to be easy to flow from one bad habit to another. That's how hours get eaten up checking email, then Facebook, then… If your habits aren't good, you want to strictly follow a plan.
It's tempting to view your habits as a matter of self control, but usually bad habits happen for exactly the opposite reason. When we're not making deliberate choices, we fall back on whatever feels the most comfortable or natural. This process of interrupting those bad habits ensures that those habits don't feel comfortable or natural. Once they require more effort or forethought, you can start to make a different choice.
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