So everyone all the time talk about habits and forming or changing them and let me just tell you I am such a addict when it comes to reading about people and their habits and routines and so on. There is nothing more satisfying as seeing someone have their lives together… well maybe having your own life together would be more satisfying…. hmmmmm…. Anywhoo, I have listed 5 counter-intuitive ways of forming and or changing habits down below, so let’s start!
- Don’t plan as much. Yes I have mentioned this before. This is something that quite many high performing business people talk about. There is a gap often between planning and taking action. It is called analysis paralysis. We just plan the day by the minute, then realize we have way too much planned or we spent the whole time planning and now its already 12 am and we should have been asleep hours ago. This also works when planning on habits you want to incorporate into your life and how. Yes plan your habits and see where they fit, but don’t over do it. Habit is something you do, not something you plan… just saying.
- The easier something is to do, the more likely you are to do it….But I disagree on the effectiveness in some cases (or maybe it is just me). This is something also suggested in detail in Atomic Habits by James Clear. I just started this book but its amazing and I’m like half way through. And while in general I agree on this advice, I have noticed certain instances that the opposite works. For example, when I planned on using my nearest gym…. that is literally like a 200m walk from my house (About 656ft) I wouldn’t go there…like ever. I had this mentality of since its so close I can go when ever so now I don’t have to. And honestly this changed when I started to go to the gym further away. It became more of an actual routine because I had to make an effort and make sure I took into consideration the walking time there and back. Since I don’t know if there are any studies done on this topic, I can’t say if this is an normal phenomenon or if I am just peculiar… I am probably just peculiar, but leave a comment down bellow if this sounds familiar
- Don’t think about the end goal. This is also something that is discussed in the book Atomic Habits. I find this very fascinating but I do understand the logic. If you want habits that stick, you shouldn’t think about the end goal. It shouldn’t be that I want to weight X amount of kg or pounds. Because what happens to the habits you have built when you reach that “magical” number. Big chance is you lose those habits. However if you focus on becoming a healthy person. You will continue doing certain habits just because a healthy person does them. This means that instead of concentrating on goals you should concentrate on your identity and instead of just thinking about your habits think of systems you can set in place to make sure those habits work. James Clear explains this better than I ever could, so read the book. However, I will try to give an example. I want to wake up at 5 am. This is a habit I want to have. A system for it, would be having two alarms both at the other side of the room that I have to go and turn off. But this is not enough. Now that I have turned them of, while I am already standing I have to go to the bathroom do my business there and wash my face, so I wake up. After this I go back to my room. Open my blinds, make bed and this is important; I meditate on the floor/chair NOT on the bed. Because otherwise I fall asleep again. This is a system that ensures I wake up and get up at 5 am.
- Don’t beat yourself over if you are failing in doing something you told yourself to-do. Studies have found that people are more likely to make positive change when they get positive information about that change. And if they have a possibility of being better than someone else. So for example; if you have a calendar and you mark with an x all the days you haven’t smoked, you are more likely to keep up with that since you have a streak (side note, this is why Snapchat worked so well ;D) If you have an app that tells you that people A and B are doing 50% better than you on said habit, you will be more likely to improve your score so that you get as good of a grade or better as them. This also means that instead of telling yourself that you are an idiot. Just notice that you are breaking your streak. Or others can do better than you. This will make it easier for you to get back on track with your habits. Here is a link to the ted talk on this subject TED talk and again Atomic Habits talks about this as well.
- Last but not least. If you want to stop doing something. Don’t stop it cold turkey. Or if you do stop something right in that second, substitute it with another habit. For example if you have a habit of biting or fiddling with your nails. In order to stop if, get a stress toy. This way you can still do something with your hands (and studies show it isn’t actually as bad as we were lead to believe…just for the love of God, don’t let it be a clicker pen or I might just have to attack you….) This will make sure you will stop ruining your nails and it won’t rely on you to be disciplined. It is hard to be disciplined with habits that are unconscious, nail biting often is.
So here are the 5 ways to form and/ or change habits that are counter intuitive. I hope you liked the post and please comment bellow the one that seemed to make most/least sense to you.If you have questions or post ideas don’t hesitate to ask!
Also here is a link to a poll on twitter that I formed that decides the post I will be writing for Thursday, make sure to cast your vote! Twitter Poll
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