Hey there, Dean here. I run content and SEO at AppSumo. Here, I write and share about productivity, leadership, money, psychology, marketing, and more.
And impossible to do what's bad
Cultivating good habits is a topic that never gets old. Part of it is due to the fact that we all want to get better. Another part of it is that making good habits stick is incredibly hard.
Whether it’s to workout four times a week, write daily, or wake up early, most people start doing them passionately and feel great about them, knowing full well that these small habits will one day change their life for the better. Then they start backsliding to the same old behavior, getting the same old results.
You’re not alone if this sounds like you. Frankly, I have also felt guilty for getting in and out of commitments I’ve made and sometimes frustrated about how to really keep myself disciplined.
The last thing you want to do is to blame yourself for the lack of discipline and consistency or fall into the “What The Hell” trap where one small setback makes you decide to go all-in on the bad habits limbo. And finally, to abandon the pursuit of a 1% daily improvement for good.
Instead, think and act like a scientist. Approach the journey of your personal behavioral change as a series of experiments and tests. Make a hypothesis, implement what you learn, track your results and adjust from there.
Speaking of which, I recently tested out a simple set of experiments that worked very well in terms of changing my habits for the better.
Making a decision to do what’s good for us is harder than ever. We’re wired to seek instant pleasure while our environment has evolved rapidly to favor the ability to delay gratification.
Forcing ourselves to do what’s unpleasant now for future gains is hard enough. It requires focus and consumes energy. I sometimes think it’s really not my fault to slack, get distracted, and procrastinate when everyone else is doing their best to grab my scarce attention.
However, pointing finger at others isn’t very helpful. Instead, I suggest we focus on what we can control: making it easy to do what’s good for us.Here are a few changes I made. You can use them as a reference if you want to practice the same habits.
Making what’s good for you easier reduces resistance. While doing that, you can make it harder to do what’s bad for you. Here are a few things I do on purpose to block bad habits and distractions.
The truth is, even with these tweaks, our behavior and habits will never be perfect. I don’t think it’s worth trying to be perfect if the price is to weed out all the fun. Instead, the purpose is to have fun while doing what’s good for us.
As I’ve mentioned before, our environment plays a significant role in how we act and behave in our lives. On a larger scale, the government, the economy, and technology change the society or can even change a generation. On a smaller scale, the book we read, the apps we have on our home screen, and the room we live in transform every bit of ourselves.