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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #8--Barriers

Principle #6. The 20-Second Rule: How to Turn Bad Habits into Good Ones by Minimizing Barriers to Change
a. “Common sense is not common action.” Though doctors know better, over 44% of them are overweight. It’s not enough to know something, but we have to DO it as well.
b. Bundle of Habits: William James, father of modern psychology, said, “we are ‘mere bundles of habit…’” We all have a series of habits or routines in our lives. Our bedtime or morning routines might serve as examples. And that cuts both ways: Our habits keep us doing things both good and bad.
c. The trick is to interrupt our path and not just rely on willpower. Will power is a limited fount. If we go to it too often, we wear it out. On the other hand, unconscious habit taps into a huge reservoir of energy to sustain real change.
d. Passive leisure activities like trolling Facebook or watching TV are good for about 30 minutes…then apathy or “psychic entropy” sets in. However, “active leisure” like biking, sports, and games help us be 2.5 times happier when engaged than in a passive activity.
e. The 20-Second Rule: Put things in your path, not out of ready access. Even an extra 20 seconds of hunting for something can impede your progress. So make it harder to find bad habits (like food) and easier to find good habits (like your running shoes). Also creating barriers can make a big difference. If you often stop at an ice cream shop, take a different route home…that one is autobiographical!

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