We all struggle with “bad” habits, where they come from and our vulnerability to them is for another piece, right now I am going to give you a preliminary tool to help disrupt and manage those bad habits that have such deep hooks. These habits may range from smoking cigarettes, eating too much dessert, watching porn, drinking too much alcohol, spending too much time on social media, taking recreational drugs, too much time surfing news headlines, binge watching Netflix or any other number of self-destructive/self-limiting habits, habits that whittle away at our lives until there is literally nothing left.
In order to break these habits we first need to put them into perspective, to see the control they wield over us. When a habit is triggered we lose our sense of periphery, we get tunnel vision, we then yield to that tunnel vision. That narrow focus is so powerful that we can’t imagine making any other kind of choice at that time. This Habit Disruption Method is simple. The next time you are about to engage in a habit you want to break, or diminish, WAIT.
Wait exactly 2 minutes.
This doesn’t mean that you are quitting. Whatever you decide to do at this point, with these 2 minutes, is up to you, but what you are creating here is a juncture, a node in your patterns, and the opportunity to do something else until those 2 minutes have elapsed.
Some choices that I insert into those 2 minutes are writing in a note app, reading a book on Kindle or Google Play Books, sitting and meditating, cleaning up or just collecting myself and considering the decision of the habit that I am about to slip into.
After those 2 Minutes, Engage Minus 1
By all means go ahead and light up, look for “likes”, go another round, read about some person who you will never meet whose very existence makes you upset, whatever you like. Now that you are back to doing whatever it is that you know is not helping you get ready to stop a little earlier than you otherwise would.
Just a little earlier.
If you are smoking a cigarette, don’t take the last drag, stop scrolling and log out a minute earlier than you would, leave a little ice cream in the bowl, watch one less suggested video on YouTube.
You don’t need to apply this to all of your self-destructive habits all at once, as a matter of fact I strongly advise against it. That is a formula for failure and failure can leave us feeling defeated and powerless, which is the furthest thing from the truth, you are much more powerful than you can possibly grasp because all of those habits have been working and orchestrated to diffuse that power. You are powerful.
Take this Method one habit at a time. Identify what you are targeting and depending upon how serious that habit is, how deeply entrenched it is (like 20+ years of smoking) give it the respect that it needs and isolate it. Try this for a month, every day, for every cigarette, or for whatever else it is that you are taking your power back from. It is your life, your body, your mind. There are millions of people who are all too happy to occupy your space, fill your head up and empty your pockets. It is time to take your agency back. Right. Now.