“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
Wow, those were profound words from John Dryden!
Think about it: The person you are today is largely because of the habits that you have been practising for the past few years. How you approached mornings, how you reacted to adversity in life, and even how well you took care of your health slowly but surely shaped you into the person that you are today.
As the end of the year approaches, I’m wondering once again about the person I envision to be in the near future. How exactly on earth do I become that person?
I think the answer is clear after reading the quote — I must work on my habits. Specifically, I should work on breaking bad habits.
Hence, in this post, I will share three habits that I plan to break in 2022, explaining why I should break them and how I intend to do so.
Using social media whenever I face resistance
Whenever I begin to face a little difficulty in work, school, or my personal life, I tend to stop what I’m currently doing before hopping onto Instagram. Scrolling through Instagram provides me with a dopamine hit, helping me to momentarily forget my difficulties.
However, I’m not teaching myself how to overcome challenges by avoiding the feeling of discomfort when things start becoming a little complex. This poses a problem as there are many obstacles in life and if I have a habit of evading them, then I will probably not be able to achieve the goals that I set out for myself.
Additionally, taking a social media break every now and then prevents me from entering a “flow state”, where I could arguably submit higher quality work in a shorter span of time.
To break this habit, I will utilise a three-prong approach.
First, as it is nearly impossible to check my phone without going onto social media as well, I will only check my phone after meals and once the day is over. I will also place my phone in another room in between meal times.
Next, I can be more conscious of whenever I face resistance and then tell myself to work through it instead of evading it.
Finally, I will include passwords for the social media apps that I frequent. This will prompt me as to whether I have a valid reason for going into the app or to just escape whatever I’m currently doing.
Waiting for the perfect conditions
I have many ideas that I would like to work on. For example, I want to begin a blog where I would write about topics that interest me. I would also want to create a YouTube channel and be something of a Study YouTuber myself.
The issue comes in when the perfectionist side of me begins to come up with a never-ending list of the things that I should prepare or the experience that I should gain first.
As such, I never really have the conviction to begin anything because the perfect conditions are rarely met. Hence, I rarely work on the things that I always talk about.
How do I intend to break this habit?
First and foremost, I think it is important to realise that conditions will never, ever be perfect!
Next, it is also crucial to recognise that one only needs a minimum level of skill, knowledge, or experience (usually even less than what you think is required) before being able to start on something with reasonable progress.
In my case, being able to write this article should be more than sufficient evidence that I have the basic knowledge and skills to write blog articles!
Thus, it will be a good practice for me to identify what is this baseline for the different projects that I have in mind, strive towards this baseline, and then begin on my projects after I have surpassed this baseline.
Having no self-imposed deadlines
Now, as for the projects that I actually start, another problem awaits. Again, because of the pursuit of perfection, I keep revising, editing, and ensuring that every single detail of my project is flawless before releasing it. As a result, it takes an excruciatingly long time for me to release or publish anything.
After reading this article by Calendar which talks about the 4 key benefits of working under deadlines, I decided to create deadlines for myself.
In theory, deadlines should work because it creates a sense of urgency to get a certain thing done by a certain time. As such, you will be highly focused on finishing the specific task by its deadline.
Yet, I know from personal experience that self-imposed deadlines may not have the same effect as compared to a deadline set by someone else instead and hence I will take special notice of the following two things:
- One, to give myself enough time so that I do not have to rush through the project, resulting in low quality work that is simply unacceptable.
- Two, by tying my reward to the condition that I finish my work by my self-imposed deadline. This will give me the extra motivation to get whatever I need to be done by a certain time so that I can enjoy the reward afterwards.
This wrap up the three habits that I plan to break (and replace) in the coming year.
If you plan to break some bad habits in 2022 as well, remember to work on one habit at a time! Trying to work on several habits all at once will NOT yield any results!
Be progressive as well—start small and scale later.
Finally, have a strong reason to quit a bad habit! Motivate yourself with a vision of your better self.
Here’s to taking one step closer to the person we envision becoming!