Why Learning To Unlearn Is So Important
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Habitual behaviors usually occur in chains of activities: an initial stimulus sets them off, and then a sequence of events occurs. Habit chains are set off by triggers, which are stimulus events that bring the habits to mind and reinforce their execution.
Once a trigger sets a habit chain in motion, it is difficult to stop it: You either don't notice it is happening or it plays with your mind so you don't care.
'Flood' the old action with the newly desired action or habit.
Rather than focusing on the unlearning part, simply design the new action you would like to take its place. With this approach of flooding your old routine with newly designed actions, the process of new learning overwhelms and makes extinct the old actions you wanted to unlearn.
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“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
The most useful learning isn’t usually a strict addition of new knowledge, but first unlearning something false or unhelpful.
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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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Habit-building is a powerful tool for self-improvement. But the power of the tool can also create some overreach. In one way, habits will fail to form.
In other circumstances, habits are no...
Many habits are simply routines, but not all of them. _For example, there isn't a habit for a hard workout at the gym - you won't become absent-minded midway through a benchpress.
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