There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it. - Mary Wilson

How to Change in an Instant

Posted: February 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: | No Comments »

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The most important thing you must to to make lasting change is to simply like what you are changing.  When you stop smoking, quit drinking, lose weight, etc. the key is to enjoy doing whatever it is your doing when your not smoking/drinking/eating nachos.

Most people that I know who smoke, mostly do so because it gives them a chance to stop sitting in an uncomfortable chair, go outside, and forget about everything else and just smoke.  Smoking is like yoga or meditation.  It frees the mind by allowing you to focus on a single task, outside, in the sun, away from the people you work with.  So if you replace this really fun activity with more of the things you don’t like, work for example, you won’t quit.

I know someone who has a partying problem.  Going out to the bars and hanging out with your mostly alcoholic friends is great fun.  Unfortunately it’s expensive, and if done too often, robs you of valuable time spent doing more important things, like traveling the world or exercising.  Well my friend uses a common strategy for not partying too often.  He stops, and then sits in his apartment doing nothing.  Last time I checked, partying with your friends is way more enjoyable than staring at the wall or working on the weekend.  So what happens?  He does nothing for about 3 weeks, starts to lose his mind, and goes back to partying, only it ends up being a three day bender costing somewhere around 11ty billion dollars.  Then he freaks out and goes back to being “grounded.”  Rinse.  Repeat.

The mistake is trying to change by punishing yourself.  Change should be fun.  It should be positive.  You should be happier not doing whatever it was you were doing before.  So the only way to really change is to find something you like even more.  I recently went for exercising about twice per week to 5-7 days per week.  How did I do this?  Motivation?  Will?  No.  I simply like swimming more than I like sitting in my house.  I started going to the pool and now I swim almost every day.

The key to all this is recognizing what you really want.  If you were that perfect person, what would you do for fun?  Most negative habits have way more fun alternatives.  Some examples:

  • Smoking – Going outside and getting fresh air, working out in the middle of the day, meditation, chewing delicious gum, making out with hot girls that don’t like smokers
  • Eating delicious fast food – Eating delicious healthy food (this may take some effort to find) that you’ve prepared in advance
  • Drinking – doing things with your friends that don’t involve sitting around (hiking, camping, sports, museums, travel)
  • Getting fat – Playing a sport that you like, going to yoga, learning judo
  • Working for the man – working on something you love with no boss, having other people do your work
  • Watching TV – doing the things that people on TV do

All of these things will take a little effort to figure out.  But once you’ve found something you like, all the effort you need to change is gone.  It just happens.



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