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How To Convert Bad Habits Into Good Habits

Do you find yourself constantly going to a specific app or website for no reason?

Maybe it’s Facebook. Maybe it’s YouTube. Maybe it’s Reddit. Or, it could be something else entirely.

All that you know is that you find yourself wasting potentially hours a day on this app.

Somewhere deep down you already know that visiting these websites isn’t a productive mode of being.

You probably think it’s procrastination and you berate yourself for not being “strong” enough and not being motivated enough.

But, is that really the case?

What if what’s happened is that it has now become a bad habit for you to browse these websites.

And the reason you go to them in the first place is because you’ve associated a specific emotion to going to that website or app?

I wrote a bit about this in my Chunk It Down article.

I became aware that when I feel overwhelmed and I happened to be on my phone or laptop then I’d automatically go to Hacker News, a technology-focused website.

Going on this website didn’t really bring me any value. I’d just spend minutes browsing the home page and going through the comments.

I’d rationalize to myself that I was learning valuable material, but in reality I was just escaping.

So what did I do?

I installed a chrome extension into my browser named Redirector. All I did was redirect that website into a custom typeform that I created related to overwhelmed.

Here’s a link to that Typeform here.

Now I had to manually figure out what was the negative emotion that I had associate with the website.

And then I had to figure out that I felt that and figure out the appropriate questions to ask myself to figure it out.

Here’s what I suggest for you if you’re having…

First, figure out what are the apps that are wasting the most time for you. You can apply the 80/20 prinicpal here. It’s most likely just a handful of apps that are wasting the the most amount of your time. That’s probably Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube. It could be different for you.

Next, is to figure out the emotion that you associate when you go to these apps?

Are you opening Instagram out of habit as soon as you wake up?

Do you open up YouTube immediately after work?

Do you go on Facebook during work when you’re feeling lazy?

Do you check it during lunch?

How are you feeling when you’re checking these applications during the initial state of opening the app?

Make note of that emotion and try to define it clearly into a word. It might just be a feeling for now and that’s okay. You can use this list of emotions here to help you define it.

After that, I suggest creating an empowering question to help you figure out what is it that is causing that emotion at that moment.

My question is simply, “What is overwhelming you or confusing you right now?”

The next question is, “What’s one thing you can do to make progress on that in less than 2 minutes?”

It’s me trying to force myself to think about microactions that I can use to create momentum and get myself to take action.

Finally, I include a link to my timer app Protime for 2 minutes and that lets me get to work on doing the action.

The power in this is in the associations that you will now create. You’re turning a bad habit into a good habit, by leveraging the bad habit. Now every time you go to the bad website, you’ll automatically get switched over to becoming aware that you’re doing it. You can answer a short questionnaire and start taking action.

Now this could be too much for some folks and I definitely encourage you to do it how you want to do it. One thing you could do it, what’s one thing that I can take action on for 10 minutes and after I finish I can watch 15 minutes worth of YouTube videos?

It’s what works for you ultimately.

Thank you for reading this article,

Derick

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