THE HABIT - GETTING OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
The list of sh*t we feel the need to accomplish is ever-growing.
And with bigger lists, comes more not awesome feelings about how we’re not doing the things on it.
Do you ever get to the end of the day, and find yourself lying in bed wondering what happened? It was Monday. The diet was going to start today. You were going to do that yoga video your friend sent you. You were going to read books with the kids tonight instead of letting them watch another tv show. It was going to be such a great day. And now here you lie, feeling like a failure for not taking care of yourself/ your business / your kids / whatever else the way you wanted to.
So what’s the deal? Why can’t we just do the damn thang?
There’s likely a few deals playing out:
We are more likely to fall back on existing patterns (a.k.a habits) than to implement something new. Old habits die hard. Like really, really hard. This is because with a habit your subconscious takes the reigns. In order to implement a new plan, we have to engage the conscious mind. The prefrontal cortex. Unfortunately this switch doesn’t just happen on it’s own. There has to be motivation behind it, and motivation is totally unreliable. Motivation is a dick.
We are constantly ‘triggered’ into playing out our existing patterns.
When we don't have a focus, or an actual plan for implementation, it’s ever-so-easy to default to these patterns.
So we need to figure out a way to outsmart ourselves. In other words:.
The easiest trick I’ve learned for doing this is to find those nasty little triggers and put something else in their place. Let me give you an example.
Scrolling on our phones is a nasty time-suck.
And the amount of time we spend on our phones is staggering. 2017 studies showed that the average american is on their smart phone for - GET THIS:
Over four hours a day.
Like what in the holy heck are we doing? It’s kind of not our fault - the super smart tech gods of silicon valley design apps to suck you in. The part of the brain triggered by social media apps? SAME as the part triggered by drugs, food, sex and gambling. We get a little hit of dopamine every time we pick it up. The addiction is real. But still. Four hours you guys?
Like w. t. f.
In this and any example, you can ask yourself - “What brought me to engaging in this habit?”
This is where you trace it back to the trigger.
What made you pick up your cell-phone?
- Were you bored?
- Overwhelmed and just checking out?
- Not sure what to do next so you just grabbed it?
- Really actually intent on looking something up or connecting with someone in a meaningful way?
- Do you keep it at arm’s length at all times?
I don’t know about you, but when I reflected on these questions I felt pretty queasy. There were a lot of triggers, mostly surrounding checking out to avoid taking action.
So you know a few of your triggers. Now what?
Thankfully there are many many awesome ways to engineer in a new habit to take place of the old. And in the beginning, it takes a bit of effort from the ol’ prefrontal cortex. But, after not too long, little habit shifts become easier, and start to happen automatically (hello subconscious mind - thank you for defaulting to awesome-ness).
So back to our smart phone scrolling habit. By creating a list of to do’s for the day (and I’m talking about an actual list that you write on paper, not one in your head) you’ve got something to refer to when a trigger pops up. Something to place your focus back into. Those who write down their goals are over 80% more likely to achieve them.
Take this one step further by making it a checklist, so you get a little hit of the good feels with every box checked.
If you’re trying to repeat a new habit daily (exercising, meditating, etc), try applying the checklist theory to a wipe-board. Keep a one month wipe board by your bed, and draw a heart on all the days you did the thing. See how much love you showed yourself at the end of the month.
What other ways can you engineer in a new habit, to save you from your stupid phone?
Keep your phone in another room
Go into the settings and turn off notification chimes
Set a timer for your scrolling time
Set it to go on “do not disturb” mode after 8 or 9pm
What would it feel like to leave the house without it, if you knew you didn't need to make any calls or be contacted for anything? Woah.
What other habits are you ready to kick to the curb? Need a hand figuring it out? I've got your back. CORRECTION - I'll help you get your own back. Sign up for a free 30 minute Healthy Habit Strategy Session Today.