The Best Way To Change A Habit – Rip The Bandaid Off
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I’m spending my time and the things I want to learn/do. This has mainly been brought on by the fact that we added a little girl to the family and prioritizing awake time has been something that is important to everyone. But that doesn’t mean my wife or I want to 100% give up our individuality or the things we want to accomplish in life. Going deeper into that is a topic for another time but what I’ve been trying to figure out, with the limited time available, is how to get into these new skills/hobbies and be successful at them.
The answer for me is diving in 100% from the get-go or as some people call it “ripping the bandaid off”.
Let’s make sure we are all on the same page. I’m just a guy writing online. I have no credentials in human psychology and am not licensed in anything that has anything to do with this article. Saying that none of this should be taken as advice in any way shape or form. I know that some of you who are reading this have things you want to do/accomplish but are also limited by that pesky thing we call time.
As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize the best way for me to change a bad habit or start a new one is to go for it 100%. Now for each circumstance, this looks different but the end result is usually the same for me… it works.
Now good ol’ trusty Google says it takes around 30-60 days to start or break a habit. But I don’t have 30 or 60 days I want it right now.
This isn’t about me being a millennial and having no ability to delay satisfaction. What this is about is whether I can do it right now with a high chance of succeeding or wait 30-60 days with a high chance of failing. The choice here is obvious. Here are some examples:
- Social Media – You want to get better at managing your time on social media. To do this the first thing you should do is delete all social media apps from your phone. Delete them all. What you’ll soon discover is you have this unconscious need to pick up your phone even though in the back of your mind you know you have no notifications or anyone trying to get ahold of you. I’m speaking from experience here. It’s an ugly truth but it is the truth. I would challenge you to go 3 days without social media, then 5, then 7, then 15, and so on. You quit cold turkey and are building a new habit. Now, I’m not trying to be a drill sergeant here so I realize that social media isn’t the devil. If/when you want to get back online add back one app at a time. What I’ve found is I don’t actually like using them all.
- TV – We all probably watch too much TV so let’s just make this one quick and simple. Get rid of the TV altogether. This is obviously the drastic way to go about this but again we’re going for it all. We only have one TV in our house and while we’ve debated getting one for the upstairs or are bedroom it always comes back to whether that’s actually good for us or not. We ultimately decide it is not.
- Eating Healthy – I’m not in the business of wasting food or the money you spent on said food so I’d never suggest throwing food out. What I will say is eat them and never buy them again. I know that if we have chips or cereal in the house I will destroy the whole bag. That’s why they don’t belong in our house and results in me eating healthier.
- Running – Lately, I’ve been getting into running and have been documenting it in the blog post I Need A Physical Challenge… So Let’s Go For A Run. Running sucks but it’s a goal that I’ve set for myself to get good at. Now, I know that the best way to train isn’t to go out and run a marathon. This will result in me getting hurt, making a fool of myself, and me hating running forever. But what I do know is that if I spend money on something I’m going to build a mental model in my head to get the value out of said thing. To get better at running and make me stick to it I bought a Garmin Forerunner 255. An expensive watch for sure but now when I’m not feeling like getting a run in I’ll look down at my watch and think “damn I spent $350 on this watch I have to go run” and it works. Buying the expensive watch was my buy-in to be 100%.
I could give a list of 100 more examples but you get my point. I think a lot of us want to start something new or quit something that we know is bad for us but we won’t take the plunge. The negative thoughts of “I won’t succeed” or “what’s the point” go through many people’s brains and does mine as well. But time and time again I’ve realized if I go into it 100% then I’m far more likely to succeed and that is a much better feeling than looking back in a couple of years and thinking what if?
Thanks for reading.