Author Topic: Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle  (Read 2853 times)

amyable

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Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
« on: March 14, 2015, 07:05:45 PM »
I have been in a funk lately--we've had crappy weather, and I'm dealing with some minor, but annoying health issues.  What do you do when you've lapsed into some lazy, undesirable habits, like eating out, going out for coffee, etc?  I've been looking in the wrong places for a "pick me up" lately and need a pep talk to get back on track.

pagoconcheques

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Re: Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2015, 09:19:47 AM »

intirb

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Re: Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2015, 09:29:03 AM »
Try habitrpg.com!

m8547

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Re: Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 10:29:30 PM »
I use rule based decision making. I make up rues for myself, then I follow those rules instead of doing the habit on autopilot.

For example, biking vs driving to work. Sometimes I'm lazy and I want to drive. But my rule is that I will bike unless there's a good reason to drive. I will bike unless:
  • >60% chance of rain
  • <20 degrees F in the morning
  • Have to pick up something large or heavy after work
  • Extremely tired/sore from some kind of physical activity

It's good to start slowly any add rules as you change the habit.  For example, start with no coffee after noon (or 2pm, or whatever works for you). Then limit yourself to one coffee per day. Then always make coffee at home unless you are meeting someone for coffee. Later switch to tea, and finally transition to caffeine free tea (Celestial Seasonings is great, btw). I avoid caffeine, but I can't think of anything wrong with caffeine free tea every once in a while. There may actually be health benefits, and it helps me be more hydrated and less hungry.

m8547

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Re: Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2015, 10:43:58 PM »
For this to work it's important that you want to change the habit, and that the rules work for you. They shouldn't be too complicated or too restrictive. You shouldn't cheat. If you must cheat, add a rule that allows exceptions, such as allowing yourself to go out for coffee once a month for no particular reason.

It does take some self control to get started, but for me rule based decision making is a way to put self control on autopilot.

Edit: I wanted to add an example of an unsuccessful rule. At one point I tried a bedtime alarm in an attempt to get more/better sleep. I set my alarm clock for the time that I should stop doing whatever I'm doing and start getting ready for bed (10pm). It didn't work for me because it was inflexible. Sometimes I wanted to finish whatever I was doing, or sometimes I wasn't tired. I have yet to find a good way to consistently get to bed on time.

One more thing: Rules don't seem to work to prompt me to do something. They are only good when you face a decision and need to choose what to do. For example, it won't work to make a rule to vacuum once a week. I'll forget. A calendar or reminder system is better for that. So rule-based decision making is good for breaking habits but may not work as well for making new habits. With some creativity you might still be able to make it work. For example, if you want to exercise more, get a pull-up bar and every time you walk through the doorway with the pull-up bar, do some pull ups.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 11:04:15 PM by m8547 »

wealthviahealth

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Re: Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 04:03:31 AM »
I take a long walk, un plug from everything, and goal set.