Make harmful habits harder to do

I tend to eat when I’m anxious, sad, or overwhelmed. My brain wants those substance hits (usually sugar-related) and, if it’s easy, I’ll eat all day long.

If it’s easy; that’s the key.

One of the best ways to break or replace bad habits is to make them harder to do, or even to hide them away completely.

With overeating, I did the following:

  1. I threw away all the junk food and expired items.
  2. I deleted every food delivery app and phone number from my cell phone.
  3. I bought a big stock of sardines, jerky, salami, eggs, nuts, and other healthy foods that I can eat without preparation (or without much preparation, at least).

With that, whenever I want to eat something I won’t have sugary treats: I’ll only have foods that are “heavier,” and that makes it harder to overeat.

If I really want to eat a pizza or Chinese food I can still order it, but just the fact that I need to Google a place and make a phone call is enough to make me reconsider. Reconsidering – that pause between having an impulse and acting on it – is usually enough to make me stop on my tracks. That’s not always the case, but it certainly helps.

This can be true for every other habit as well. Do you play too many video games? Delete them all and re-download them Friday night to play on the weekend. Do you use your phone too much in bed, which prevents you from falling asleep faster? Put your charger in another room.

We are creatures of habit. Make something hard to do – or even just less convenient – and you might see a significant change.

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