All right, we looked at just the positive habits and making a place for them in our lives. Those are the things that we just needed to add in to make it a little bit better.
After all, we’re chasing progress not perfection. There will be a Perfectionists Anonymous meeting as soon as I find the perfect time.
So what do we do with those bad habits we shouldn’t have?
cough*daily soda drinking to the point that I don’t really drink water* cough.
This was a matter from the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This is the fact that you really need to reward yourself to get rid of bad habits instead of beating yourself up about them.
There is a pattern loop that creates this habit and we need to make the most of it. There is a start point, the action, and then the reward (or what our brains see as the reward). By interrupting this cycle we make the most progress.
The same rule of habit stacking applies here, though, that for best results you only do one at a time. Sure, it takes a little longer to get to past this ‘build’ phase, but wouldn’t it be grand to only do the damn process once?
So, I did it a little backwards to get rid of the soda drinking habit. Part of it was rebellion, part of it was necessity. I wasn’t allowed caffeinated soda as a child, so I devoured it as an adult. I have the cavities for my efforts.
Side Note: Did you know that caffeine consumption is actually a calming agent in some ADHD folks?
When I worked at a call center, you were attached to your headset and they didn’t like my mini pottybreaks every two hours… so I compensated. Enough said.
Anyways, so I am no longer in that phase of life and was looking at the relations to soda and osteoporosis and other health negatives. And realized that I really had to make it stick this time.
So for my habit breaking, I decided to pretend that it was already a broken habit and treat it like the reward.
Reward for what exactly?
Drinking 8 glasses of water the day before. I felt that the real problem with my soda drinking was that I wasn’t drinking any water.
So I started counting. Sure I got the headaches but I blamed that on not enough water and drank some more. I found that after I had done a couple days of drinking ‘enough’ water, I didn’t really want the soda everyday anymore.
I felt better, my adult acne started clearing up. Which is a perk I’d given up on achieving… let me just say.
Kicking or Replace
You have to learn one trick first before you can really start growing in your own journey.
You are capable of change.
Let me repeat that.
YOU are capable of change. But how well do you work with that negative voice telling you what you can’t do, what you haven’t done?
You don’t. You cycle back around to what used to make you feel good before, and that wasn’t what you wanted in the first place.
Yes, to breaking the cycle.
Yes, to growing into more than you were.
What are you going to replace this month? Give yourself time to slip up and start over.
Next time, I’ll talk about the three stages of a habit building and you’ll see why it really works to stagger them.