Build Habits Using Raisins
“Human behavior is incredibly pliable.” – Phillip Zimbardo
We can modify our own behavior, setting up rules that accompany the habits we wish to change.
I had a friend who struggled with stress eating. He’d sit down at his desk for hours: to study, do homework, game, and surf the internet.
The whole time, he’d have his hand deep into some snack. He’d munch absentmindedly and therefore ended putting on weight.
20 pounds in to this journey, he realized he had a problem.
He tried not buying snacks, but then he’d end up breaking down and pouring himself giant cereal bowls over and over.
Finally, he found the perfect solution to combat his weakness.
The kind with peanuts, chocolate, M&M’s, and raisins.
You see, my friend couldn’t stand raisins.
All it took was a few handfuls, and his snacking urges were quenched for the day.
There was enough pleasure in each handful to make it worthwhile, but it was impossible to overindulge on it if it was paired with something negative.
This behavior modification program can be applied to addressing the many negative behaviors in your life.
Just self pair bad behaviors with negative stimuli. Think of it as a crude version of reinforcement therapy.
For example, I had the bad habit of leaving the shower and then laying in my bed on my towel for an hour just browsing my phone.
I couldn’t help it—I was getting ready for bed, I was warm and comfortable, and it was irresistible to just waste time on my phone.
So I made a new rule for myself—if I’m going to stay in my towel, I can’t lay down in my bed.
Sitting is definitely less comfortable, and you don’t have the big sheets to keep your shirtless self warm.
Even then, there can still be positive consequences to continuing your behavior, so long as you follow your own rules.
There are days where I stay in my towel for hours, but I spend them sitting down doing work for my computer, or reading a book, or something similarly productive.
Give this strategy a try if you’re struggling with changing something. Your biggest enemy can be your own self/urges, but your greatest ally is also your own self/willpower.
The power of the mind is infinite.