One Really Simple Tip for Removing Bad Habits

by Henrik Edberg

One way to kick a bad habit is to remove the easy availability.

Here’s an example. Since I´ve started blogging I’ve been checking up on the statistics of my readers and earnings several times a day.

Many bloggers/webmasters fall into this habit. We all hope that our readership/earnings will increase so we watch our all of our statistics many times each day.

This interrupts our workflow, wastes time and creates a habit of being disappointed. Your website may be growing, but it´s most often a slow process. So checking too often mostly just means that you´ll be disappointed (except on Digg-days). This will lead to doubts and possibly even giving up.

So what did I do? I simply deleted the bookmarks to my statistics.

You can do this with any bookmarks or shortcuts that have created an addiction for you. Maybe your addiction is to a forum, maybe it’s to a frequently updated blog, maybe it´s to a computer game.

Now, if you want to visit the sites you have to have google it or type in the address manually. If you want to play then you have to go into the folder where the game is installed.

This has saved me time and reduced negative energy. Since it´s become a bit harder to access my statistics I check them much less, only once or twice a day. I have done the same thing to my RSS-reader. To access it now I google it and only quickly browse it once in the morning and maybe once at night instead of checking it something like eight times a day.

You can also expand this beyond your computer.

If you have a bad habit of eating too much sugar then don’t have cookies and candy at home. I recommend having something to snack on though. I always keep some oranges and carrots in my apartment. When I feel the craving for candy, but find none in my kitchen then I eat an orange instead. Doing this will over time replace one habit with a more useful one and probably make you lose some weight too.

Easy availability is one of the big reasons for developing stupid and unnecessary habits. Take an example like McDonalds. They are everywhere. It’s so easy to just go in there and have a meal. The high availability increases the usage. Reducing the availability redirects you to take another, hopefully more useful path.

This can also be used to your advantage in another way. If you want to establish a habit of writing down your goals each morning then, before you go to bed, put out the pen and paper where it´s most visible at your desk. If you want to establish a habit of working out then leave your training clothes out on a very visible place in your room/apartment/house instead of having them tucked deeply into your closet.

This tip is almost stupidly simple. But, when used, it works surprisingly well.




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{ 21 comments }

Michael April 9, 2007 at 1:32 am

My problem when I remove a site is that I just fill up that extra time going over the rest of the sites. If I read 10 blogs in 10 minutes, instead I would read 5 blogs in 10 minutes. It’s just important to make sure you keep track of the time so you don’t wind up spending the same amount of time on less stuff.

Greg Meares April 9, 2007 at 3:18 am

This is a perfect post for me. My problem is spending time on busy work rather than focusing on providing great content for one of my blogs. It may be a procrastination technique that I use. If I’m not careful I can lose a lot of productivity time “checking on things.”

Armen April 9, 2007 at 8:21 am

Simple, yet profound.

My first visit here by the way, and an excellent first read. Thanks!

Jackie Cameron April 9, 2007 at 12:16 pm

First visit for me too! Great read.

I have my swimming gear dumped in a corner – it will annoy me but I will put it in a more visible place.

Talking about breaking habits I am currently using the book “I can make you thin” by Paul McKenna. I work from home and the kitchen is where the food is. I was by no means obese but I could do with using a few pounds. By using his tips I no longer equate a trip to the kitchen with eating something – I now only eat when I am ( really and truly) hungry! Which has been interesting over the past few days when our house if full of chocolate..
Jackie

Loving Annie April 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Good Monday morning Henrik !

I keep all my favorite sites on my blogroll links.
I rarely check my stats, except to see what percentage of people comment versus how many lurk…

Would you be willing to add me to your links ?
You’re already on mine —

I make a habit of walking almost every morning. Great way to start the day.

Thank you !

Henrik Edberg April 9, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Michael: That´s a good insight. Thanks for sharing.

Greg and Armen: Thanks for your comments.

Jackie: I´m glad you´ve had good results, I´ve heard a lot of good things about Paul McKenna.

Annie: I´ll be sure to add your site to my next Link Karma-post this week. Have a good day.

Loving Annie April 9, 2007 at 6:26 pm

Thank you Henrik ! I appreciate it !

thodarumm April 11, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Are you telling me I should remove you from my bookmarks..
just kidding!
Have a great day..yup procrastinating. I am off.. to do some productive work.
:)

Henrik Edberg April 12, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Thanks for your comment, thodarumm :)

Ev Nucci June 3, 2007 at 2:38 pm

Wow is all I can say. I’m most impressed with your blog and your thoughts. I like how you write, your message, and your delivery–its genuine. No hype. I would like to link in to you on two of my four blogs, pleaase check them out and see if you want to reciprocate. YOu can email me at evnucci@nucciconusltinggroup.com and let me know your thoughts.

The reason I like to link in…is simple. When I visit my blog, I click and visit.

Resource Economics is http://evnucci.wordpress.com
Career Strategist is http://careerstrategist.blogspot.com

I also subscribed to your reader today. It takes a lot to impress me…you have done so.

Coolbreeze May 23, 2008 at 3:45 am

I deleted the link to this blog…
I’ll save so much time!

Mohanraj Thangarasu May 23, 2008 at 7:23 pm

I was redirected to your website by one of my email newsletter. At the first glance, i felt that i can subscribe the email update since i found the blog is absolutely nice.

And later when i spend time to read the blog, i completely feel that i have done something worth improving my life. thanks for effort and writing. I do visit the blog regularly.

Helena February 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm

I go through the internet a lot and for long periods of time. On days where I have no work or school, expect to see me facing my laptop’s monitor the entire day! Due to this, i am not able to do things I meant doing. I sleep late, therefore get up late. The internet consumes me, it’s the best procrastinating tool ever.

It never came to me, ever, that the solution is to put my laptop away to make it a chore to use. How can something so simple and obvious be crazy brilliant? Thank you!

Your blog is enlightening me a lot by the way ;-)

Drew April 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Good job. This is a really simple technique that a good drug rehab can show you.

romi May 26, 2009 at 6:59 am

It really works . thank you!!!

Taking Care December 13, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Interesting example. It make real good sense to make an undesirable habit less accessible. I don’t see how it could work for bad habits like procrastination or negative thinking, but I can see it being effective on over eating or smoking. Thanks for sharing.

UFCRuleZ February 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

Rather nice site you’ve got here. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

Truly yours

ThagoorBala March 1, 2010 at 10:08 am

Its Really really helpful to improves the lot. Thanks for being a part of my site reader………

figgie4ever April 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

Sounds great! Just wondering…

What would you suggest for bad habits such as biting finger nails or picking at pimples on your face? How would you remove the availability of those bad habits?

sophia May 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Great tips Henrik!

Plus Size June 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Great advice for plus size clothes and clothing.

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