We humans are terrible at sticking to good habits. Often, we find ourselves trapped in a cycle of bad habits like procrastination and living a life of eternal self-sabotage. The reason why it is hard to stick to good habits is just that- bad habits are easy to do, good habits are hard to stick to. How so?
Imagine this: Your alarm rings and you remember your resolution to go to the gym every morning. Then you consider your options: either you get up, brush your teeth, pack your gym bag, get out of the house OR just disable the alarm and go back to sweet sweet sleep in your comfy bed. I think we all know what we will choose.
You stock your kitchen with junk food. Every time you are hungry or bored, you will reach for these instead of healthy food just because it is easily available.
So the idea is simple:
Make it easier to follow good habits and harder to follow bad habits.
How do we do this? Here’s what I Do:
I keep my alarm away from my bed so that it is unreachable from the bed itself. I have to physically get out of the bed to turn it off. This has to be done quickly too, since I don’t want to wake my family. Then it is easier to just proceed with my morning routine rather than going back to bed since I am already fresh and alert.
I keep my game controllers and TV remote far away from the sofa and instead keep a book on the coffee table. The controllers are in a different room altogether. Now it is much harder for me to watch TV or play games and much easier to read books. Sometimes I keep my guitar on the couch or on a stand beside the couch to make it easier to practice.
I strictly avoid buying any biscuits, cold drinks and sweets. Instead there are fruits and salads always ready.
Incentivize (Reward) Productivity
Going further: Make good habits actually enjoyable by incentivizing productivity.
Here’s what I do:
For gym and running I listen to podcasts and music albums. I now find myself unwilling to listen to either of them just sitting at home. I will at least need to go for a walk if a new podcast or album has surfaced. When the latest Eluveitie album released (Ategnatos), I had to go for a run in the evening just to listen to it. The run was great (sunset, 6km relaxed run) and the album is frickin amazing.
I hate the crowded, uncomfortably long train commutes. I make this enjoyable by getting interesting books and manga to read in the train. Sometimes I will download videos and play games too, to endure the travel and get to University and Library.
To ensure I meditate daily, sometimes I use a nice comfortable carpet to sit on and get up early to meditate in the cool air and total silence.
To ensure I study and journal everyday, I bought colorful and high quality stationary. New smooth pens and good quality notebooks.
I use coffee to help me study and write; limiting intake to a maximum of 3 teaspoons of coffee in a day. 1 mug and 1 cup. No more.
I keep my phone in the central room so I can hear calls all around the house. I keep books lying around the house in all rooms. When I am bored and sit down to relax, I already have the option of a book right there instead of my phone which is tied down to it’s own place (like a landline)
So what are you going to do to make it easier to stick to good habits and avoid bad habits? Let me know in the comments below!
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