Module 2.

How to Make Good Habits Inevitable and Bad Habits Impossible

 

Another approach to making sure you follow through with a new habit or behaviour that you want is to create what is known as a commitment device.

A commitment device is something that you do or arrange today that will make breaking your good intentions far more difficult. One example that James Clear gives in his book Atomic Habits is to pay for something that you want to do in advance. So if you want to create a new habit of going to the gym three times a week, see if you can arrange to pay for a year in advance. This will make it less likely for you to stop going. You might also get a discount!

My favourite commitment device is to simply tell everyone that I know what my new goal is and what I am going to achieve. I’ve done this several times in my life and for me it certainly works. For instance, when I made the decision to switch to a plant-based diet, I told everyone that I knew. Family, friends and acquaintances. When I decided to learn Spanish, I applied the same principle and told everyone that I knew that I would become fluent within 5 years. And I’m getting there, too, with just 10 minutes of practice every day.

Here are some other commitment device examples:

  • Cut up your credit cards to avoid mindless spending
  • Leave your laptop at the office so you can’t continue working at home
  • Buy junk food in small packages rather than large
  • Get rid of the alcohol in your house to prevent you from drinking.

Automating Good Habits

Another wise move for sticking to good habits is to try and automate good habits. These are one-time decisions or changes that have a lasting benefit into the future. For instance, let’s say you want to improve your sleep, you can buy a better mattress. Want to improve your mental health, get a dog.

Basically the idea is to think of things that you can do once, that will pay off automatically over the long term.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find social media very distracting. It’s one of my greatest obstacles to doing good, creative focused work. There are apps and blockers that can be deployed to stop you watching or looking at social media during certain times of the day. For instance, I’m most productive between 9 am and around 12 noon and then again in the afternoon from about 4 pm to 6 pm. During these times I’m able to do my best focused work. I’ve not done it yet, but it would make a lot of sense for me to set up systems on my phone and computer that prevented me from getting distracted by social media during these times.

How We Can Apply This to Adopting a Plant-Based Diet

As I mentioned above, one of the best approaches for me is to tell as many people as I can about my new idea. If you live on your own, you can get rid of all the meat and dairy from your house. If you live with others and you’re not the cook, maybe you could announce to everyone that you’ll be doing the cooking from now on. This would have two benefits, It would enable you to buy and use more plant-based ingredients than otherwise. Perhaps you can even use this strategy to get other members of your home on board through the “back door” so to speak.

And if you’re going to be the cook and if you have the spare cash, why not splash out on some fancy knives and cooking equipment to make the experience more fun and to illustrate to yourself and others how seriously you are taking it.

Can you think of any one-time changes that will help you stick to your new plant-based diet over the long term? What about enrolling for a plant-based cooking course and paying a year in advance?

Everybody’s circumstances are different. But if you can come up with a few good ideas for one-off decisions that will have positive effects stretching into the future, this will pay dividends.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.

Module 2.

How to Make Good Habits Inevitable and Bad Habits Impossible

 

Another approach to making sure you follow through with a new habit or behaviour that you want is to create what is known as a commitment device.

A commitment device is something that you do or arrange today that will make breaking your good intentions far more difficult. One example that James Clear gives in his book Atomic Habits is to pay for something that you want to do in advance. So if you want to create a new habit of going to the gym three times a week, see if you can arrange to pay for a year in advance. This will make it less likely for you to stop going. You might also get a discount!

My favourite commitment device is to simply tell everyone that I know what my new goal is and what I am going to achieve. I’ve done this several times in my life and for me it certainly works. For instance, when I made the decision to switch to a plant-based diet, I told everyone that I knew. Family, friends and acquaintances. When I decided to learn Spanish, I applied the same principle and told everyone that I knew that I would become fluent within 5 years. And I’m getting there, too, with just 10 minutes of practice every day.

Here are some other commitment device examples:

  • Cut up your credit cards to avoid mindless spending
  • Leave your laptop at the office so you can’t continue working at home
  • Buy junk food in small packages rather than large
  • Get rid of the alcohol in your house to prevent you from drinking.

Automating Good Habits

Another wise move for sticking to good habits is to try and automate good habits. These are one-time decisions or changes that have a lasting benefit into the future. For instance, let’s say you want to improve your sleep, you can buy a better mattress. Want to improve your mental health, get a dog.

Basically the idea is to think of things that you can do once, that will pay off automatically over the long term.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find social media very distracting. It’s one of my greatest obstacles to doing good, creative focused work. There are apps and blockers that can be deployed to stop you watching or looking at social media during certain times of the day. For instance, I’m most productive between 9 am and around 12 noon and then again in the afternoon from about 4 pm to 6 pm. During these times I’m able to do my best focused work. I’ve not done it yet, but it would make a lot of sense for me to set up systems on my phone and computer that prevented me from getting distracted by social media during these times.

How We Can Apply This to Adopting a Plant-Based Diet

As I mentioned above, one of the best approaches for me is to tell as many people as I can about my new idea. If you live on your own, you can get rid of all the meat and dairy from your house. If you live with others and you’re not the cook, maybe you could announce to everyone that you’ll be doing the cooking from now on. This would have two benefits, It would enable you to buy and use more plant-based ingredients than otherwise. Perhaps you can even use this strategy to get other members of your home on board through the “back door” so to speak.

And if you’re going to be the cook and if you have the spare cash, why not splash out on some fancy knives and cooking equipment to make the experience more fun and to illustrate to yourself and others how seriously you are taking it.

Can you think of any one-time changes that will help you stick to your new plant-based diet over the long term? What about enrolling for a plant-based cooking course and paying a year in advance?

Everybody’s circumstances are different. But if you can come up with a few good ideas for one-off decisions that will have positive effects stretching into the future, this will pay dividends.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.