Even if you replace a “bad” habit with a better one, sometimes the original vice will have a stronger biological “reward” than its substitute. This is where the importance of having an intrinsic motivation comes into play.
If that is the case, find as many benefits to the change as you can and try to use them as extra motivation.
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Most of the time, bad habits are simply a way of dealing with stress and boredom.
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All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life because they provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.
And because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it's very difficult to simply eliminate them. Instead, you need to replace a bad habit with a new habit that provides a similar benefit.
Though companies like Nike try to ignite our willpower with their slogans, ultimately willpower cannot squash our subconscious and unconscious behavior.
Repetition of action and thought can...
Just merely knowing something is good or bad for you is not going to give you any benefit, unless the implementation is done. Conscious knowledge cannot change your behavior, one has to make necessary changes to successfully act in self-control.
If you know that you will eat junk food because your refrigerator is filled with it, remove all the junk food.
Just as removing friction aids in doing the activity more often, adding friction can aid to remove the bad habit, by making it difficult or cumbersome to do so.
Example: Cigarette smoking declined due to adding taxes, banning in public places and removing from vending machines.
Behavior change is hard. Slip-ups are common, so when they happen, don't beat yourself up or retreat into negative self-talk. Instead, anticipate your failures and plan for them.
Make achievable commitments to test new routines and approach it as a series of experiments.
Try your new routine for a while and tweak it or switch to a new one if it doesn’t suit you.
Once you have a clear breakdown of what's happening at each stage of your habit loop, brainstorm healthier routines that will produce the results you want.
Create a list of options of alternatives that might provide comparable reward to the one you are trying to eliminate. Focus on new routines that will help you decompress after a stressful day (the cue) and leave you in a positive frame of mind to get freelance work done (reward).
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