Habits are very difficult to break. Some are critical and should not be changed, yet some cause us to procrastinate and delays the completion of much needed tasks.
Resistance to change can cause a delay of growth, well at least in my opinion.
I always believe that change is always a good thing, we learn from every experience if we are open to it.
I found that this article really helped to find new solutions for breaking habits as well as a great explanation as to how some habits begin. Once you get past the first part of this post, you will learn some pretty interesting quick ways to focus your habits to work better for you.
Here is the article.
There’s just one way to radically change your behavior: radically change your environment.
— Dr. B.J. Fogg, Director of Stanford Persuasive Lab
Most of us would like to think that our habits follow our intentions.
The truth is that one of the mind’s chief functions is to spot and utilize patterns as shortcuts, in order to process the multitude of information we observe each day.
We are more reliant on environmental triggers than we’d like to think.
In one study conducted on “habits vs. intentions,” researchers found that students who transferred to another university were the most likely to change their daily habits. They also found those habits easier to change than the control group because they weren’t exposed to familiar external cues.
This mirrors research on the stimulus control theory, or the effect of a stimulus on behavior. Techniques involving stimulus control have even been successfully used to help people with insomnia.
In short, those who had trouble falling asleep were told to only go to their room and lay in their bed when they were tired. If they couldn’t fall asleep, they were told to get up and change rooms.
Strange advice, but over time, researchers found that by associating the bed with ‘It’s time to go to sleep’ and not with other activities (reading a book, just laying there, etc.), participants were eventually able to quickly fall asleep due to the repeated process: it became almost automatic to fall asleep in their bed because a successful trigger had been created.
Perhaps we are more like Pavlov’s dogs than first imagined. If you take a look at studies published in books like Mindless Eating, it is scary to see how small cues can greatly impact our behavior:
If you use a big spoon, you’ll eat more. If you serve yourself on a big plate, you’ll eat more. If you move the small bowl of chocolates on your desk six feet away you’ll eat half as much. If you eat chicken wings and remove the bones from the table, you’ll forget how much you ate and you’ll eat more.
Good to know, but is it possible to use triggers like these in order to encourage ‘good‘ behavior?
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