Can't Kick a Bad Habit? You're Probably Doing It Wrong
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The process of stopping bad habits is fundamentally different from forming new ones.
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.
By classifying specific behaviors as things you will never do again, you put certain actions into the realm of “I don’t” versus “I can’t.”
Saying “I don’t” rather than “I can’t” provides greater “psychological empowerment.”
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As you’re determining the habits or resolutions you’re trying to set, make the habit part of a bigger cause that’s worth the struggle.
You’re not just going to the gym, you’re building a new body that you’re not ashamed of so you can start dating again.
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Compare that to a cue (you see your running shoes), anticipate a reward (a runner’s high), and make the behavior automatic (go for a run!).
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