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Better Control of Emotions Will Help You Make Better Habits

Repetition and habits

Habits can form very quickly. For instance, give someone a new phone, and their emotional response to using the device will wire in a habit very quickly. There is no need for repetition.

New habits then form as long as people have a strong positive emotion connected to the new behavior.

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Better Control of Emotions Will Help You Make Better Habits

Better Control of Emotions Will Help You Make Better Habits

https://time.com/5756833/better-control-emotions-better-habits/

time.com

5

Key Ideas

The 'tiny habits' method

You can hack your motivation and make changes that last by using the Tiny Habits method.

It works by breaking down big changes into tiny actions, find where they fit naturally into your life, and then you feel good by celebrating.

Repetition and habits

Habits can form very quickly. For instance, give someone a new phone, and their emotional response to using the device will wire in a habit very quickly. There is no need for repetition.

New habits then form as long as people have a strong positive emotion connected to the new behavior.

Designing for habit formation

Emotions create habits, not repetition. If you are designing a new habit, you are really designing for emotions.

Intentionally create feelings of success to wire in the habits that you actually want in your life.

Celebration

Celebration is the best way to create positive feelings to commit to a new habit. Celebration should happen immediately after the behavior. When you get good at celebrating, you will have a superpower for creating habits.

Although incentives like a sales bonus can motivate you, they are too far in the future to release dopamine that encodes a new habit. 

Celebrating tiny wins

Although celebrating small successes might not feel natural, practicing this skill will help you to get comfortable.

Your confidence will grow when you celebrate because you will be creating habits, and you will get better at being kind to yourself.

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Tiny Habits
  • While trying to form a habit, starting in small increments and utilizing self-motivating feelings of positivity and celebration are strong catalysts and help reinforce the changes.
  • To ...
The Power of Celebration
  • Tiny habits are easy to do, and the thing that keeps us going is the celebration of small accomplishments, as feeling good is a vital part of the Tiny habits method.
  • We routinely self-criticize at the tiniest of mistakes but do not celebrate our small accomplishments by saying to ourselves that we did a good job.
  • A celebration is like a habit cementer, and feeling good at any moment is a superpower, which can be used to reinforce your habits and transform your life.
Be Nice To Yourself

Our emotions create our habits, and celebration is the best way to create a positive feeling that waters your new habits. It pays to be nice to ourselves.

Celebrating the tiniest detail of your busy lives, when you remember to hang your keys where they should be or when you tidy up your room, can shift your perspective, and makes your life better in a couple of minutes.

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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B. J. Fogg
“It’s much easier and it’s much more reliable to start habits that are small and get them firmly rooted in the..."
B. J. Fogg
Starting good habits and sticking to them
  1. Harness the dopamine effect: identify the desired outcome. Mentally walking yourself through the process of success and the joys and benefits it brings can teach your brain to be motivated by something other than dread.
  2. Start with baby-steps: identify the “tiny habits”  behaviors — we should start with small actions that we can celebrate.
  3. Use triggers: these new habits follow other routines that are already ingrained into your daily life(triggers), so every time you complete this already existing behavior, there will be a trigger, or an automatic reminder, in your brain to do the new one.
  4. Let it snowball.
Habits and behavior change
Building habits to change behavior the right way can be a wonderful tool to improve your life. But false notions about what habits are and what they can do can ...
Habits are a type of learning

They generate an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought.

By forming a habit, the brain frees the mind to do other things without deliberation. So behaviors that require concentration, deliberation, or extended effort, are not habits.

What drives motivation

Motivation is not driven by pleasure and pain, but rather by the desire to escape discomfort.

Our brains get our bodies to do what they want through discomfort. And the same rule applies to psychological discomfort. 

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How To Choose Good Habits
  • Envision your ideal end result. What are you going to achieve?
  • Write it down. It will serve as a powerful motivation, especially if you include why you want it.
Good Habits For Health and Fitness
  • Regular Aerobic Exercise: Great for both your physical and mental health. Increases the production of dopamine and boosts creativity.
  • Preparing Your Own Meals. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s a habit that’ll boost your health, wealth and productivity. 
Good Habits For Finance and Wealth
  • Create a Household Budget: the best habit to help you save money. A household budget helps to encourage frugality and discourage impulse spending. You’ll feel more motivated to engage in other good financial habits once you’ve got this in place.
  • Financial Audits. This involves frequent checks as to whether you’re spending your money as wisely as possible.

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Eating Distract from Emotions

We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.

Why we choose comfort food

Comfort foods don’t tend to be healthy. We want cake or pasta or chips when we’re emotionally eating. We have emotional memories around certain foods, which are more likely to involve your grandma’s lasagna than a salad. 

But after we eat for emotional reasons, we’re replacing our original feelings with the emotions that arise out of eating.

Comfort food

We associate comfort food with positive memories.

Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.

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Building habits

Our habits have the power to enable us, most of the time, to live a more organized life. However, we might find it quite challenging when it comes to establishing new habits, as they require...

Set measurable targets as habits

When trying to build new habits, be specific by thinking about ways to measure the evolution of your action: set clear targets that can help you, when the deadline previously decided on approaches, to evaluate your progress.

The pros and cons of building new habits

When picking up a new habit, think it well through: take into account the possible inconveniences as well as the most attractive advantages. 

Remember that sometimes it might get harder to keep to the habit, but eventually, you are doing it for a good cause that is related directly to yourself.

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Set Better Goals

Be specific on how you’ll implement goals into your daily life. Examining how you’ve responded to the situation in the past and determining what you can do to avoid reverting to the old h...

Have a Better Reason For Quitting

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.

Replace a Bad Habit With a Good One

The more you suppress your thoughts, the more likely you are to think about that thought or even revert back to that bad habit. Instead of trying to stop doing something,  it’s easier to do something else.

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The Confusion Of Habit and Routine
The Confusion Of Habit and Routine

Habits are programmed human behaviors with little or zero conscious thought. Habits free our minds to other things, but our behavior isn’t always on autopilot. There are many tasks that require con...

Understanding Motivation

Neurologically speaking, motivation is the desire to escape psychological discomfort or a life situation that is not giving us any kind of ‘pleasure’.

Most behaviors are prompted by discomfort. If we are hungry, we eat. If we are lonely, we call up a friend. If we are bored, we turn on the TV.

The Test

If we are procrastinating instead of doing a certain task, telling ourselves that we would it later, it is a sure sign that the task isn’t a habit which can be done on autopilot but is, in fact, a routine.

Anything that requires effort is easy to forget or postpone.

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Learn To Use Procrastination
Learn To Use Procrastination

The desire to procrastinate is a healthy brain craving, a natural need for novelty and curiosity. We must stop the negative self-talk we have towards us not working as a machine all the time. The l...

Observe Your Need To Procrastinate
  1. Observe the need to procrastinate, recognizing and being aware of your desire. This is called meta-recognition and is what all the Gurus keep talking about when they speak about awareness.
  2. Label and accept your urge to waste your time, but without any negative judgement.
  3. Validate your urge to procrastinate, increasing your self-esteem.
  4. Approach procrastination as a friend, not as a threat.
The Real Enemy of Flow

The biggest obstacle, the main villain hampering our productivity is always in your hands, and rarely in your pockets. _It’s your smartphone. It needs to be powered off for some time. Your laptop, clamouring for attention, is not helping either. Remove all distractions and notifications so that you can get in the ‘flow’ mode.

Creating friction between us and the open black hole of the online distractions helps us focus on work.

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