I want to show you guys a picture.
This was my fridge in my freshman dorm room.
And it looks terrible, I know.
For most of college and for a lot of high school
I had a terrible addiction to energy drinks and sodas.
魔爪 红牛 NOS 我也知道
Monsters, Red Bulls, Nos’s and I knew
it was unhealthy for me.
In fact at one point I remember tweeting out something
about needing help quitting these things
and somebody replied,”Have fun with
that irregular heartbeat in 10 years dude”.
That stuck with me.
But not enough for me to quit.
For a long time I would try and fail again and again.
It was always this
“just one more time” excuse that would come up.
Maybe there was a homework assignmentthat I had to do late at night
so I would head to the library cafe and pick one up
and settle in for a study session.
Or maybe sometimes I’d justgo to the convenience store with my friends
and now they’re six inches away
and my willpower failed me.
So long story short
this was one of my worst habits
and it took me years to finally beat it.
But eventually I did and now it has been about five years
since I have had any kind of energy drink whatsoever.
And I rarely drink regular soda at all as well.
Today guys what I want to talk about
is how to break those bad habits.
Regardless of whatever the habit is,
whether it’s drinking one too many soda pops like me
or playing too many video games
when you should be studying
or just compulsively biting your nails
you have the ability to break those bad habits
as long as you take the challenge seriously.
As Aristotle said over 2,000 years ago
with some admittedly weird grammar in the English translation,
“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do”.
But before we dive to the actual tactics and
strategies here, it’s useful to ask the question,
what exactly is a bad habit.
In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit,
he defines a habit in general
as an ingrained pattern of behavior that has three stages.
There is the cue, whatever triggers the habit in your mind.
The routine, the pattern of behavior,
the actions that you take to get the reward, the final part.
He also mentions that once a habit becomes truly,
deeply rooted and ingrained,
you’ve gone through it several times,
a fourth component also comes into the equation and that’s craving.
When the cue is triggered in your mind
there is an intense craving for that reward.
It’s important to understand this.
Every habit has a reward.
Otherwise you wouldn’t do it.
Essentially a bad habit is really
any habit that stands in opposition to your long term goals,
be it living a healthy life,
or maintaining good relationships, or earning straight A’s.
The reason that these bad habits stick around for so long
is because they are ingrained
but almost always they are habits that lead to short term rewards.
Your brain is hard-wired to care a lot more about the short term
than your long term goals,
even though logically you know those long term goals are more important.
So essentially you’re acting against your own self interests.
In fact there’s a term that originates in
ancient Greece for this called Akraisia.
If you want to be able to beat that akraisia,
if you want to be able to beat that short term focused
programming deep inside your brain,
you need to have a clear, well-defined
and compelling reason for breaking that bad habit.
In one of his private journals Bruce Lee once wrote,
“I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind
will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action,
and gradually transform themselves into physical reality,
therefore I will concentrate my thoughts
for 30 minutes daily upon the task
of thinking of the person I intend to become,
thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture”.
For Bruce Lee that compelling reason,
that motivation came through intense meditation and visualization.
But you can also create a real physical reminder
of why you’re trying to break that habit as well.
That’s actually what I did.
Out of all the reasons I had for stopping my addiction
to energy drinks, the main one was my face.
Because for most of high school
and for a lot of college I had horrible acne.
My complexion was basically the dark side of the moon
and it wrecked my self confidence.
It was bad enough that I would wake up pretty much
every day with blood stains on my pillow case and my sheets.
I really wanted to fix this problem.
I would spend hours researching online
试图找到补救措施 解决方法 以及背后的原因
trying to find remedies and fixes and trying to figure out what the causes were
but eventually I realized what I had basically known all along,
which is that sugar, especially sugary energy drinks and soda,
were a huge cause of break outs.
So one day I decided to crystallize this reason in physical form.
I actually went into Photoshop.
I took a picture of myself and I used the clone tool
to create a Photoshopped version of that picture.
Basically an idealized version
of what I wanted to look like some day.
I put that on my phone and every time
I would get a craving to go buy a Monster or
buy a Red Bull, I would look at that picture
and I knew if I gave into that craving
I was pushing that reality further and further into the future.
That did help immensely, but of course
it was still tough to resist those cravings.
One additional thing that really helped me
to stave them off was actually replacing energy drinks and soda
with something different that still gave me a very similar reward.
That’s actually the second tip here.
If you can find a different routine
that replaces the reward with something similar
then you can replace the habit with something more productive.
This is actually something Charles Duhigg talks about in the Power of Habit.
For me, I replaced my energy drink addiction
and my soda addiction in part with sparkling drinks
La Croix, Topo Chico, San Pellegreno,
La Croix, Topo Chico, San Pellegreno,
because I realized it wasn’t necessarily
the taste of the drinks that I was addicted to,
it wasn’t even necessarily the caffeine,
it was just the novelty of having that cool can on the desk
and having some good tasting drink while I did my boring homework.
So I asked myself, is there something else
where I can get a similar, if not exact same benefit.
当我的女朋友给我介绍 La Croix 时
When my girlfriend actually introduced me to La Croix,
which is like a lemon flavored one,
I was like this doesn’t taste the same,
but it’s carbonated, it’s in a can,
it’s got a bit of novelty to it,
so it kind of replaced soda in that habit.
My experience is actually pretty similar to the author The Power
of Habit, Charles Duhigg,
because at one point he found himself
in a bad habit where he would go every single day
and buy a cookie.
He asked himself, this is not healthy for me,
why am I doing this.
Is it because it tastes good?
Is it because I need the sugar because it’s the afternoon?
Or is it something else?
Eventually he realized the real reason that he was
getting up every single day, leaving his desk
and going to buy a cookie,
is that it gave him an excuse to take a bit of a break
and socialize with his coworkers.
That was really the reward.
Sometimes you have to dig in to figure out
what’s the actual reward I’m getting from this habit
and are there several rewards
and if so, is there a primary one
that I can find a way to replace with a healthier behavior.
The Pre-commitment Strategy
Another crucial step you need to take from breaking a bad habit
is to remove as much access
to that habit as you possibly can.
In The Odyssey when Odysseus and his men are
sailing past the island of the sirens
he actually has his men bind him to the ship’s mast with ropes
and then put bees wax in their own ears,
that way they can’t hear the sirens song at all
and he can still hear to navigate the ship,
but he won’t be able to give in to the temptation.
Because Odysseus knew when he was removed
from that temptation, he was able to think rationally
and logically and he had enough willpower to
set up a pre-commitment which made it so
that when his willpower failed in the face of temptation,
he was unable to give in to it anyway.
So use this tactic when you’re trying to break your own bad habits.
And I did this as well.
I actually have a pretty bad habit of
looking at analytics on YouTube
or social media sites like Twitter or Facebook when I should be writing.
So I actually have a program that completely blocks
all access to those sites, basically,
binding me to doing my writing
and making it completely impossible for me
to go distract myself.
Essentially if I have no access to that habit,
I’m not going to be able to give in to it.
30 Day Challenge
Lastly, if you find the prospect of going completely
cold turkey and quitting your bad habit forever daunting,
try a 30 day challenge.
I find this to be useful
because a lot of people can’t moderate their bad habits.
They can’t say I’m just gonna do this every once
in a while as a treat.
They have to give it up. But,
thinking about giving it up forever,
especially when it’s a fun habit
like playing video games or having the occasional soda is kind of daunting,
it kind of sucks.
But, anybody and I mean anybody,
can do a 30 day challenge.
Abstaining from that thing for just 30 days.
The way that I do this
is I create a Google sheet
and I give the URL to my friend Martin.
Everyday I will go in, I will log my progress
and I tell him, check on my progress
and if I fail even once, I’m gonna give you $100.
I don’t want to fail, it will hurt my pride,
it will hurt my wallet and I know I’ve got somebody invested
in my success who is gonna keep me accountable.
嘿 只是30天而已 再说一遍
And hey, it’s just for 30 days. So again,
anybody can do it.
All right, so quick recap here.
If you want to break a bad habit,
number one, have a compelling, crystallized,
well defined reason in your mind for why
you want to break it and try to
create a physical reminder of that reason.
Number two, what was number two? (laughing)
I don’t know what it was.
Number two, identify the reward and try to
replace the routine with something that gives you a similar reward.
Also remove as much access to that habit
as you possibly can.
Finally start out with a simple 30 day challenge
instead of trying to go cold turkey permanently.
Now a lot of the tips from this video come
from my own personal experience.
But several of the other ones also come from the book,
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
This is one of my absolute favorite books and it
has a pretty high position on my essential books list for students
你可以在我的网站 College Info Geek 里找到这个书单
which you can find over on my website College Info Geek.
Whether you’re a student in high school, in college,
or you’re beyond traditional education,
I think that you should read this book
because habits define so much of our behavior.
When you understand how to break the bad ones,
build more productive ones, and understand
the structure of habits in general and how they make your brain tick,
you’re going to be a lot more successful.
Now if you have the time you can definitely
sit down and read this book in its paper
form or pick it up on your Kindle.
But you could also read this book with your ears.
You guys know what I’m talking about, audio books.
Audio books are a great way to get
through books while you’re cooking or while you’re
in the gym or going to work.
The best place to find audio books and my personal source for them
Audible has an unmatched library of audio book titles
in a ton of different genres.
They also have a great app for managing all those.
One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to make notes
at specific time stamps in the book.
Say you’re cooking up a paella or something and something
really insightful comes up in the book you’re listening to,
you can just pause it, add your note
and go on with your day.
So if you would like to give Audible a try you
可以在 audible.com/thomas 上获得30天免费试用期
can get a free 30 day trial over at audible.com/thomas.
That trial also comes with a free audiobook of your choosing,
be it Power of Habit or really anything you want.
The nice thing is you can keep that book forever
whether or not you decide to become an Audible subscriber,
which is pretty nice.
Head on down to the link in the description below
if you want to give it a try and thanks
so much to Audible for sponsoring this video.
Thank you for watching.
If you haven’t subscribed yet,
definitely click that subscription button right there to get videos every week when I upload.
You can also get a free copy of my book
on earning better grades right there.
Eventually I’m hoping to get an audio book version done.
So hey, maybe at some point you’ll see an Audible ad
with my own book in it.
That’s pretty conceited.
Anyway, if you want to
listen to our latest podcast episode on procrastination
check it out right there.
If you want another video
on this channel there’s gonna be one right there.
Thank you so much for watching.
I will see ya next week.