Extinguish bad habits

This is a compliment to yesterday's post and applies to extinguishing bad habits. James Clear says, "make it invisible," when talking about cues for bad habits (as opposed to cues for good habits being obvious and deliberately located). I used a dietary example yesterday that suggested hiding junk food in hard to reach locations to decrease the likelihood that you'll access it. This hits home for me because diet's always been my Achilles heel, both portion control and food selection. On my diet journey, even this example wasn't effective. I had to simply not buy junk food at all in order to maintain weight loss and healthy nutrition. It's an extreme measure, but still an example of making the trigger invisible. With this strategy in place, it's often not worth the time, effort and money for me to physically leave the house to go buy junk food. If we all dissected our daily routine, we could probably find many instances where we self-sabotage by exposing ourselves to obvious cues for poor choices.

The idea of eliminating variables that signal poor behavior might also weaken the argument that will power is solely responsible for behavior change. I've had multiple fails during this quarantine due to lack of will power (most notably my wife making homemade chocolate chip cookies and my Mom bringing over a tray of lasagna). I held out for a while, but not only did I cave, I was completely unable to moderate portions. If those choices weren't available in the first place, I think I'd have been more successful. In my situation, creating a fail-proof environment is much more practical and sustainable than relying on will power. It's easier for me to not put the food in the basket at the store than it is to lay off it once it's in my home. The notion that how you structure your environment matters more than your might is a significant insight for anyone feels similarly to me, that they lack the fortitude to achieve certain goals.

For anyone who's comfortable and has a bad habit to kick, feel free to share the habit and ways you could do a better job making it invisible.

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