Managing Habits

I recently bought a self help book: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin. In this book Gretchen talks about habits; good and bad. She gives methods for breaking a bad habit. For example, one chapter is called: You manage what you monitor. This chapter stresses the importance of monitoring your bad habits. You can monitor them quantitatively. Once you monitor a habit, you can manage it.

Case Study:

One bad habit I have is washing my hands too thoroughly and too often. This leads to dry skin, especially during the cold winter months. So I decided to “do something about it.” I posted a note on my bathroom mirror: “COUNT to 10.” This means I only get 10 seconds to wash up. Another reminder I wrote is, “No unnecessary washes,” and of course “Moisturize.” Has this method help me break or manage my bad habit? No, not yet. But this is because I don’t have the willpower to follow my own rules! However I am following the “Counting to 10” rule rather well. If I could just follow my two other rules, I could manage or break this habit.

For those of you who may have a habit you want to manage or break, I have two notes:

1. if you want to break a habit, you must remember a habit. (Use a note. Post it in front of you, where the habit happens.)

2. Resisting a bad habit is hard. (When the going gets tough, do not give up. Follow the rules you set for yourself with willpower, but remember to give yourself a break too)

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