noun: habit; plural noun: habits
- a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up
- or to start doing.
Habits. Basically, a repetition of an action.There are good (repeating something beneficial) and bad (repeating something harmful)habits . So a habit is just something you repeat. Hopefully, you have more good ones than bad ones. Unfortunately, starting a good habit, or quitting a bad one can be very difficult. What makes you do that thing you do, and keep repeating it. There’s a reason why you do (or don’t do) and repeat what you do (or don’t do), over and over.
According to studies (I just made that up), a universal “good” habit to have, is to go to the gym/work out in some way. Once again, not easy to do on a regular basis. But apparently, there’s something magical about repetition. And this is what I really want to stress here. I felt it for the first time this week. I say “felt it”, because decisions are usually made more by emotion than logic (interesting short article here). And I say “magical”, because you don’t really know why you feel this way, you just do. For some reason, I’m LOOKING FORWARD to going to the gym today. Same thing happened Monday. NEVER felt this way before. Always knew it was a good idea to go… but never WANTED to. Why now? What happened? I’m thinking, that I simply repeated it often enough, for a long enough period, that it became a habit. And quitting a habit is hard, so I don’t want to quit my habit of going. It’s apparently that simple. I did it enough times, that I look forward to doing it, and if I don’t do it, I feel bad. It’s fucking weird. But kinda logical at the same time.How long do you have to repeat it for it to become a habit? No fucking clue… But two months seems like a minimum.
Same goes with quitting a “bad” habit, I guess. You replace the bad habit with a habit of not doing the bad habit. Habit habit, something habit.
So if you quit a habit, then the new “non-habit” becomes the new habit, and the more you do that new habit, i.e. not doing the first habit, the more that new habit of not doing the first habit becomes hard to quit, and you don’t want to go back to the old bad habit. Got that?
- To break habit = don’t see it as stopping to do something (smoke, eat, drink, all the fun stuff), see it as replacing it by a new habit of not doing the bad habit.
- To start new habit = just keep doing the new thing you want to do until you feel you want to go do it, or genuinely feel bad when you don’t.
EDIT: Sometimes life is funny. I’ve been meaning to write a long post like this one for a while and finally did it. The same day, I get an email update from Derek Sivers about making changes to ones life by over-compensating. So I guess if you combine the two, you have a recipe for success. Yeah, I’m equating MY post with Derek’s. Hahahaha.