The simplest thing you can do, and the most effective thing you can do, is to replace your bad habit with a better one when that desire comes up.
You have to be self-aware. That is, you have to be cognizant as to when this desire (the bad one) arises. If you’re unaware and you simply start the action you want to eliminate, you’re not going to be able to eliminate anything. Awareness of the moment where the desire pops into your head is necessary for your success in removing it.
Keep in mind, too, that this is just a desire. It’s not something you have to do. You’re not controlled by it, it is something you control, something you have power over and that power is wielded very simply and quickly by asking a question, then performing an action.
What do you want more, the desire you currently have in your mind or the life you want to eventually live?
That’s the only question you need to ask yourself. The choice is dependence, failure, being less than you can be, or choosing a higher standard.
It depends on the habit you want to break and who you are. The simplest action I use when trying to break a bad habit is to do push ups. I need to do something active, something that gets my mind on the muscle and completely off of the habit I’m trying to break.
Again, though, it depends on what you’re trying to curb.
When I said I was writing The Lost Art of Discipline, working on a project to help guys become more disciplined, I got a ton of feedback with specific things each of you are trying to break, habits that you want to remove and replace with something more beneficial.
We’ll go through most of them here.
– Get up earlier
Most people want to get up earlier, it’s just a matter of actually doing it that most people struggle with. Now, the simple solution is to just do it. You can get up earlier, as early as you want, in fact, and for as many days in the week as you want. It’s just a choice you make and you follow that choice up with the action of standing up as soon as that alarm rings.
That’s what you can do and ideally will do, but few will actually do that.
So, start with a time you know you can wake up at. Wake up at that time 7 days this week. The next week, drop that time down by 15 minutes. Do the same the following week until you’re awake at the time you want to awake at. (Read This: Conquer Your Mornings. Win Your Life.)
This is the long approach. What you’ll find, by the time you reach that desired wake up time, is that you don’t need an alarm, and that quite often you wake up just before your alarm.
A couple keys:
a. It’s on you to actually get up. As soon as that alarm rings, stand up. Do some push ups. Do something that will get your blood going – splashing your face with cold water is always a good option.
b. Use 3 alarms. Don’t you dare miss a day. Don’t let there be any chance of you sleeping in. Use 3 alarms – not phones, but alarms. Go to an electronics store and buy 3 of them and place them away from your bed so you have to get up and turn them off.
– Stop watching porn
1. Replace the habit. Find something you’d rather do – like push-ups – and as soon as that desire pops into your head (the actual second it gets there) get down and do 50 push ups. You’re going to condition yourself to do something healthy rather than doing something destructive.
2. Get someone else on board. Tell a buddy what you’re doing. Be held accountable by someone other than you.
3. Block the sites you normally visit. (Read This: Does Porn Have A Place In A Man’s Life?)
– Inability to focus on one thing
An inability to focus on one thing is a muscle you strengthen.
Thus far you’ve trained yourself to not be able to focus by chasing every distraction that’s come into your mind, feeding every desire that has entered your brain. Focusing on one thing is about (a) removing distractions, and (b) strengthening your focus muscle.
So, here’s how you do it.
1. Remove all distractions. Use the tools/tactics like onefocus, head phones, shutting off your internet, and so forth to remove any hope a distraction has of entering your work space.
2. Set a timer. Start with any time you want, it could be 15-minutes or it could be 30-minutes. I’d err on the smaller amount of time and then build up. Spend your week focusing on one single task for that time period. When you’re comfortable at that time period, add 5 minutes.
The longest amount of time you can focus for is 90-minutes. That’s complete, unbroken focus, and that’s your goal.
If you can focus deeply, on one thing, you’re going to be so far ahead of any competition in the marketplace and it will be only a matter of time until you earn what you’ve set out to earn, and likely a lot more than you could ever imagine.
– Quit snacking on bad foods
This is a habit you have to replace. See: how to stop watching porn. The method is the same. Find a habit you can do immediately, once that desire pops up. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with food. You can do push-ups, go for a walk, pick up a book, or simply replace the snack.
The second thing you have to do, is to remove all junk food or non-healthy food from your house.
If you want to stop snacking on unhealthy foods that make you fat or impotent or weak, then don’t buy them! Who cares if others in your house want them. This is a habit you have to break, and their cravings shouldn’t change that fact.
– Sleeping more effectively
I’ve had insomnia for a lot of my life, so sleeping better has been a constant struggle for me. It’s a reality that I’ve had to break, change, and alter.
This is your reality. The solution may not be practical. It may not be something you want to do, but you have to ask yourself what you want more, late mornings or quality sleep, energy, high testosterone levels, and the litany of benefits that come from quality sleep.
The thing that’s helped me sleep well – and I have great sleeps now – is a sleep schedule.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every single day. If you are out late with your pals one night – which is fine – you have to at least get up at your prescribed wake-up time the next day (this is on you, you can do it, but it’s a difficult choice once that alarm rings).
A firm, set-in-stone sleep schedule is the only thing that’s going to make a massive difference in the quality of your sleep. As a former insomniac (a guy who sometimes didn’t sleep at all, and more often than not slept only for a few hours), this is what turned me around.
A couple other things you want to avoid:
a. No screens 2 hours before bed. Your eyes need to be prepped for sleep, and the light that screens give off prevent that.
b. No booze after 5pm. Yup, this one sucks, but alcohol has been proven to diminish the quality of sleep. Even though we can feel more sleepy after a glass of wine or scotch, it degrades the quality of our sleep. You have to know what you want more, booze or sleep. Then make your decision.
These 3 things will have a massive affect on the quality of your sleep.
They’re laid out right in front of you. If you don’t do any of these things, or you fail to do one, then you have failed. It’s not genetic, it’s not the world’s fault for setting society up so that it messes up our ability to sleep. It’s your fault. Do these 3 things for a month and you’ll see a massive change.
Your degree of effort is completely under your control. There is no enemy in this habit besides yourself. This shouldn’t be a thing on this list, yet it’s one of the more common email topics I get – how do I stop being so lazy?
You just stop!
If you’ve read this far you have all of the tools you need, but the truth is, you just stop. You wake up earlier. You work harder. You set bigger goals. You stop complaining and you stop taking the easy path.