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How to Make (and Keep) a New Year's Resolution

Quitting Bad Habits

If you want to quit a bad habit, start by identifying its 3 main parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. After you check the cue and your routine that follows it, you can swap the routine with something good (or less bad) to do.

For example: If you feel the cue of smoking, replace the smoking with some other activity like having a cup of coffee.

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How to Make (and Keep) a New Year's Resolution

How to Make (and Keep) a New Year's Resolution

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas

nytimes.com

12

Key Ideas

SMART Resolutions

Pick a goal that is meaningful and doable, making sure it's coming from inside you, not imposed by others.

Make specific, realistic plans for your New Year Goal using the time-tested SMART Technique:

  • Specific: Have a clear, specified goal
  • Measurable: You should be able to quantify and validate the progress.
  • Achievable: Don't have a big stretch goal that will overwhelm you.
  • Relevant: Choose wisely what matters to you.
  • Time-bound: Your goal should have a time limit or weekly checks and reviews.

Creating a Plan

Chances are you won't just wake up one day and suddenly change your life. To go where you want to go, you have to chart out a plan.

Quitting Bad Habits

If you want to quit a bad habit, start by identifying its 3 main parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. After you check the cue and your routine that follows it, you can swap the routine with something good (or less bad) to do.

For example: If you feel the cue of smoking, replace the smoking with some other activity like having a cup of coffee.

Your Inner Critic

While you're trying to follow your resolution, there will be inevitable obstacles and slip-ups that will discourage you. Do not punish yourself, just stop your inner critic from whispering negative things in your mind and carry on with your good work.

You can also try to reward yourself when you do what you intend to, to kick in positive emotions.

Being Discouraged

When you try to push yourself in the right direction by trying to build a good habit, there are forces inside you that will resist and have to be fought.

There will be negative thoughts related to progress that can be overcome by thinking positive, motivating thoughts. If positivity does not work, try being realistic and objective.

Wish. Outcome. Obstacle. Plan.

The W.O.O.P. Technique can work to make you focus on what is to be done:

  • Wish: What is your goal?
  • Outcome: What will result from attaining that goal?
  • Obstacle: Knowing yourself, think about the obstacles or hurdles that could stop you from achieving your goal.
  • Plan: How do you plan to take care of  the whole process?

Adding Flexibility

Set slightly bendable and flexible plans so that you can meet them on a daily basis.

For example: If you set a rigid goal to exercise in the gym for 1 hour daily, it can fail, but if your goal is to go to the gym daily and get some exercise, even 15 minutes, then it has a higher chance of success.

The Help of a Community

A group supporting you with your goals can be an effective technique for motivation. It is a form of public commitment and peer pressure to keep you from postponing or giving up upon your goals.

You can also use social media to announce and provide updates on your self-improvement endeavor to garner support from people who know you.

The Money Game

Betting money or taking a financial pledge can help you motivate yourself on days you feel you cannot commit to your new routine.

Partnering Up

Online support groups and forums can help you find a person or a group of people with the same goal, who can foster a sense of community and help you stay on course.

Bad Influences

There will be people that may discourage you, try to make you a slacker again, or just thrust their negativity and inner jealousy on your positive goal-setting, trying to sabotage it.

Identify and stay away from negative influencers.

Your own Experiment

In case you miss your resolution, don't lose hope and start afresh. Keep moving in a positive direction, even with setbacks.

Be kind to yourself in case of a hurdle. You are your own experiment so keep experimenting.

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One Step Daily

Most people do not stick to their New Year's resolutions because they focus on the entire task.

By just focusing on the daily small steps, one is able to create a successful daily routine.

Keep It Practical

Dial back your goal for the New Year to be a more practical, pragmatic one, and your chances of success will rise dramatically.

Don't be too hard on yourself.

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The Law of Least Effort

A whole lot of studies show people who make new year resolutions fail to stick to them eventually (over 64 %), some after the first week of January.

The reason why we find th...

Don't Be Hasty

The 'Just do it' attitude can backfire in a new year's resolution.

Keep the research and planning on for a few weeks, do the groundwork and start slow, showing that you mean it.

Pleasure Principle

As we are more inclined to do things we enjoy, it is better to find some fun in what we resolve to do.

If the task is unpleasant by nature, try to cover it with your favorite music or a reward after completion.

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Habit-formation apps are aspirational tools

They're less about distilling your life into a series of data points and more about becoming your ideal self: If you use their app, you too can become a person who practices good habits. You can be...

The 4 tendencies when it comes to habit formation:
  • upholders: disciplined and respond to both internal and external expectations;
  • obligers :can’t keep commitments to themselves but respond to expectations from others; 
  • questioners: ask why and can keep a habit if they understand the logic reasoning; 
  • rebels: hate being told what to do by others, so it has to be something they want to do.
Depending on your habit-formation tendency, habit-tracking apps may or may not work for you. 
Habit apps use the psychology of habit formation
  • Many rely on a “streak” feature: they track how many consecutive days you’ve completed the habit;
  • Other apps offer accountability features to pressure you into completing your goal; 
  • Some apps turn habit formation into a game: The app rewards users who complete their habits with badges and other virtual incentives.

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There are no such things as secrets when it comes to personal success
Every piece of new advice you hear has been said before. The real secret lies in how well you execute the advice.  🤔

Doing something is better than saying you’re going to do something.

Doing something is better than saying you’re going to do something. No one can argue with that.  🏅
Practical Tips To Make Your Resolutions Stick Even Better ⚓️
  1. Keep It Small — It’s about thinking big and acting small. You’ll achieve those big goals in time.

  2. Measure Your Progress — If you don’t measure your progress, it’s safe to say that you are not making any. 

  3. Be Accountable To Yourself — One of the most important skills you can learn in life is to be self-reliant. 

Struggling To Build Healthy Habits
  • We tend to bite off more than we can chew, go too fast too soon, and then get overwhelmed too quickly.
  • We’re conditioned these days to expect and receive instant gratification.
Your “Big Why”

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.

Healthy Habit Building 101

There are 3 parts to a good or bad habit: Cue (what triggers the action), Routine (the action itself), Reward (the positive result because of the action).

You have trained your brain to take a cue (you see a doughnut), anticipate a reward (a sugar high), and make the behavior automatic (nom that donut). 

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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Resolutions Don't Work

Resolutions feel huge, requiring a lot of mental bandwidth and loads of constant motivation to keep up. Resolutions are easy to decide on but tough to maintain daily.

Habits...

Habits: Start Small

Start small with something you already desire or like to do, to ease out the entire process for you right at the start.

For example, if you plan to write more, why not buy a journal and a pen that you want to use, and keep them handy, facilitating the writing habit naturally.

Trigger New Action
Choose a 'trigger' action you already do to initiate the new habit you want to form.

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Habit Ladder

This is a system that is automated by you. It is called a habit ladder because, from the time you wake up to finishing your first work task of the day, you're climbing up one rung at a t...

How Habits Work

A habit - a mini-system that once you create, becomes automatic to your body, with minimal interference from the brain.

The Habit Loop is a breakdown of a habit put it into three sections:

  • Cue: A certain trigger that awakens the habit
  • Routine: The action you perform without thinking.
  • Reward: The change you experience making you want to do more of the same.
Making a Habit Ladder

Keep a trigger cue ready and stack up the routine in such a way that your tasks become a habitual routine without any friction, each trigger cue and routine stacked over the next one.

Example: Put on running shoes instead of slippers in the morning and that's your cue to go out for a walk, then when you are back and feeling sweaty, that's your cue to take a bath.

Writing Daily

To build a habit of daily writing, try to get three pages of writing done every day. It can be about anything and it’s important that you write all without editing or censoring.

Dai...

Set Accountability Metrics

Come up with trackable goals like a number of words or pages per day. The specificity is important because being able to measure it allows you to keep track of your progress and better change your behavior. 

Make It a Regular Practice

Keeping track of streaks is a very powerful tactic for developing any new habit. Knowing that you have consistently succeeded for a number of days helps you push through the days who are unmotivated.

Other ways to foster regularity: writing in a different style or genre, and doing your writing first thing in the morning.

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New Year Resolutions
New Year Resolutions

93% of us set new year resolutions, with the common themes being about losing weight, eating better, starting an exercise regime, or saving money.

Research shows that 45% of people ...

Authentic Motivation

Why we set our goals matters. If it is out of fear or social expectations, then they are not going to last.

Authentic values are what helps achieve our goals, as there is a never-ending supply of willpower when we are doing what aligns with our innermost core.

Use Positive Framing

Resolving that you won't have any alcohol keeps the focus on the alcohol. Instead of focusing on what you don't want to do, focus on the positive aspect, like drinking more water.

Use gratitude and other positive emotions to steer your mind out of any pitfalls.

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What learning is

 There are two kinds of thinking, focused and diffused.

Focused thinking involves working on a singular task. 

Diffused thinking happens when you’r...

Procrastination and how to combat it

Procrastination usually happens when you reach a difficult point and find it uncomfortable to keep going.

The Pomodoro technique is effective in combatting this. This is where you work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes.

Sleep your way to better learning

Sleep is perhaps the best way to engage unconscious diffused thinking.

Being in focused mode is to brain cells what lifting weights is to muscles. You’re breaking them down.

Sleep provides an opportunity for them to repaired and for new connections to be formed.

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