Breaking Bad Habits-The Productivity Series S16E3

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As advocates of strength training, we encourage people to add strength training as a habit. Many of the most important things we need to do to live a more fulfilling, productive life, however, involve breaking bad habits.

Bad habits don’t have to be bad in a moral sense. They ultimately don’t provide us value and bring us closer to our goals. They might waste time or money. They might prevent us from building positive habits. They might make us less healthy or happy.

Stopping these habits can be difficult. The win of not doing these is often not enough. We can leverage the fact that as humans we dislike losing more than we like winning, so we need to devise punishments or negative consequences for doing the habit and have SOMEONE ELSE hold us accountable.

A note here is that the consequence should not be related to the habit. So, for instance, if you want to stop eating after 7pm, doing extra cardio or depriving yourself of food is counterproductive and can lead to other issues.

Making a bet or putting money on something is a potential option. If, for example, you don’t stop the habit in a specific amount of time (and you’ll likely need to quantify that) you give your friend a certain amount of money. Or, you could owe your spouse $5 anytime you do the habit.

Whatever habit we’ve decided to break, we’ve already decided that there are long term consequences that we don’t like. But when we continue these habits, the long term negativity is hard to think about. Adding a short term negative consequence means we create a short-term negative consequence to discourage us.

The other idea to this is that ultimately we have to get through the initial difficult time with discipline and the motivation will catch up. We won’t have the same urge to continue the habit and we’ll see the benefits of having abstained.

A couple books they recommend are The Power of Habit, Thinking in Bets, & Atomic Habits

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