My one major habit that I intend to replace over the next 66 days is the mechanical act of turning on the television at 6pm to catch the news. It’s not a bad thing to want to see what is happening in the world, it’s just that simple action results in countless wasted hours in front of the box watching absolute garbage when I could be doing more valuable things with my time.
This pattern of behavior has been imprinted on to my brain from my teenage years when the whole household came to a standstill because the news was on. But the proliferation and availability of online news sources no longer justifies my actions – on any day I’ve usually reached my saturation point by 9am in the morning. So it really is a habit with no valid purpose. And once I’ve settled into that couch it’s so much easier to stay there!
Now I can hear many of you saying “Just don’t turn on the TV”. This isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds. I’m going to have to retrain my brain to think differently about my usual responses to a whole range of queues associated with getting home at the end of the day. And that’s why habits are so hard to break – they are a part of our nature and we do them without thinking.
If I can’t change the queues (things like walking through the door, dropping my bag, getting changed, etc) I have to change the expected outcome. When I turn on my TV I expect it to come on – but not if I unplug it from the wall!
Changed outcome. So, even if I fail my first test, my next actions will require additional effort that should tweak my consciousness and remind me of my intentions. If that fails, then I really need to think about getting rid of the TV.