You have bad habits, and you might have some good ones. You make promises to yourself and then break them. You might diet and then binge; get fit and then get fat; get sober and then start drinking. What should you do if you want to make a permanent change for the better?
When you can’t change a habit, you usually think you’re the problem – that you’re weak or don’t have enough willpower. I’d posit that it’s actually your approach. Instead of forcing yourself to change, you need to trick yourself.
Here’s the deal: don’t stop doing anything. Break your bad habits by doing them less, not never. Here are some examples:
- To lose weight. It’s easier to lose weight by cutting down your portions by 10% instead of jumping straight to no-carb, salads, and gym-going.
- To get fit. It’s easier to buy a few dumbbells and do home workouts twice per week than it is to get a personal trainer and gym membership.
- To stop smoking. It’s easier to go from smoking 20 cigarettes a day to 18 than it is to go from 20 to 0.
Basically, if you try to force an extreme change, you’ll lose control and ricochet back into your habit – usually with an explosive binge. It’s better to give yourself a small push in the right direction, and slowly ramp up from there, week by week. Change is much easier in moderation.
In other words, “keep smoking cigarettes to stop smoking cigarettes”.