James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, adds that looking at data can be a good starting point. “For fitness habits, it could be things like your Apple Watch or Whoop band or MyFitnessPal. There are many different ways to get data,” he says. “It also can be true for habits that maybe you wouldn’t think about tracking.” For example, looking at your calendar for the past year to determine whether you spent enough time at home with your family, or whether you were traveling for work too much. “If you’re so busy that you never give yourself time to think about what you’re doing … it’s really hard to improve, because you’re just busy repeating the same thing again and again. You don’t have a chance to look at the bigger picture.”
Picking Your Habit, Digging Deeper, and Creating a Plan
Once you’ve done your review of the habits you’d like to break, you should pick one of them to start with.
“I look at a number of the challenges a patient is facing and then ask myself, ‘Which one is in the driver’s seat?’” says Mendelsohn. “Meaning if I tackle one of these problems, are the rest of them likely to get better?”
The next step is to decide how you’re going to go about breaking the habit you’ve chosen, based on your history with it and the context or cues that lead to you performing the behavior. Here are a few examples:
Spending Too Much Money
Say you spend too much money and this is the habit you would like to stop. You’ve determined that you started overspending when you added your credit cards to your Apple Wallet or PayPal. This then made it extremely easy to buy things when you saw an ad on social media or a friend sent a link to something they thought you would like. “You want spending money to be as difficult and thoughtful as possible,” Wood says. “Putting all your credit cards on your phone that you carry everywhere is counterproductive—you are further automating the process of spending money.” To fix this, you decide to remove your cards from all online payment services so each time you want to buy something, you have to physically go and pull out the card, which then gives you a bit more time to think about the purchase itself. You could also ask friends not to send you products and unsubscribe from any product marketing emails.
Checking Your Phone All The Time
If you’re trying to check your phone less often, David Kadavy, author of Mind Management, Not Time Management, suggests locking it in a lockbox for part of the day. “…….