Progressive extremism - Deepstash

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Can't Kick a Bad Habit? You're Probably Doing It Wrong

Progressive extremism

The process of “progressive extremism” utilizes what we know about the psychology of identity to help stop behaviors we don’t want. It works particularly well in situations in which substituting one habit for another just won’t do.

Identity helps us make otherwise difficult choices by offloading willpower. Our choices become what we do because of who we are.

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Willpower is Limited
Willpower is Limited

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...

Knowledge is not Enough When It Comes To Bad Habits

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.

Adding Friction To Bad Habits

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.

Building habits

The basic process for building all habits is basically the same: you repeatedly condition the behavior you want, over time, until it becomes automatic.

But no habit starts out auto...

Conditioning a habit
2 main ways you can condition a habit:
  • Classical conditioning: a paired association with a trigger and a behavior. Going to the gym after you wake up each morning is this kind of habit.
  • Operant conditioning: you not only associate a trigger with a behavior, but you reward that pairing, to accelerate the habit-forming process.
The 30-Day Trial

You commit to some change for 30 days, then tou can go back to your old ways. But having spent thirty days applying a new behavior is often enough to convince you to stick with it.

Pros:

  • Can handle more significant/difficult behavior changes you might be unlikely to start with a perpetual commitment.
  • Fosters an experimental mindset, rather than assuming you already know what’s best.

Cons:

  • 30 days probably isn’t enough to actually make something a habit.
  • Without a long-term plan, many 30-day trials will revert back to the original behavior.

“The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit.”

Bryant McGill
The Role Of Perseverance On Change

Bad habits don’t go away overnight. But, you can use strategies to give you that extra boost of self-confidence and self-control required to change.

Understand that sometimes you will fail and sometimes you’ll succeed. But no matter how long it takes to fail and get back up again, your patience and perseverance will soon pay off.

Creating An “If-Then” Plan

It gives you an automatic response to react to your cravings and makes it easier to replace a bad habit with a good one: 

  • Identify the scenario that usually triggers your bad habit.
  • Specify a different response to the trigger. Ideally, this should be a good habit that would replace and prevent you from falling into the temptation.
  • Combine steps 1 and 2 into an “if-then” format.