Our lives are made up, to a large degree, by habits that we repeat over and over again. We automatically perform, without much thought, many daily tasks. Therefore, it is super important to ensure that we choose and cultivate the very best habits.
We follow the path of least resistance in most of our lives. It is why we don’t do more pleasurable things, instead of mindlessly watching TV.
Examples: We do not opt out or unsubscribe even from things we are completely unhappy with.
- Companies know it, because so many rebates go unclaimed.
- “Free” subscriptions routinely get renewed.
- We stick with our phone carriers even when we are unhappy with the service.
To take advantage of this proclivity, let’s make the positive habits that we want to establish as easy as possible. The benchmark is to make it no more than 20 seconds away. In other words, lower the activation energy for good habits.
- Sleep in your gym clothes to increase the amount you exercise.
- Keep washed fresh fruit on the counter to eat better.
- Put your book on the table near where you sit to read more.
If you must decrease the activation energy to establish good habits, it stands to reason that increasing the activation energy for bad habits would work as well.
- Taking the batteries out of your remote control to decrease TV watching.
- Cafeterias cut ice cream consumption in half by closing the lid to the freezer. You could put tempting treats as far away (the basement?) as possible.
- Asking citizens to opt out versus opt in for organ donations doubles organ donations.
Pick a habit and get started. If you choose a bad habit, figure out a way to make it tougher to do. If you choose a good habit, figure out a way to make it easier.
Just my opinion. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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