A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit
At the start of this year, we had shared a TED talk by Matt Cutts on trying something new for 30 days. On today’s blog on productivity, we delve further into this idea of trying something new with a specific focus on being curious and mindful about our bad habits.
According to a TED talk by psychiatrist Judson Brewer, habit formations follow a reward-based learning process: “We lay down this context-dependent memory and learn to repeat the process next time. See food, eat food, feel good, repeat. Trigger, behavior, reward.”
Brewer continues on, sharing that while at one point these brain processes had helped humans survive, humans have also created unhealthy dependencies on them. Furthermore, trying to unlearn bad habits by doing the extreme opposites (e.g., forcing oneself to quit smoking) may not always be successful long-term solutions. Instead, Brewer suggests we become curious and mindful about how our senses understand our habits.
In the context of being a sales professional, we may have learned some bad habits from our earlier days of training. Perhaps we cut corners, rather than commit to the due diligence needed for researching a prospect. Or maybe, we procrastinate and wind up presenting with sloppy, rushed slides. If we follow Brewer’s encouragement, a more productive response might be to look at what we get from our habits as we commit them. By doing so, we actively understand them on a deeper level, thus becoming disenchanted of how they had worked for us in the past, and eventually letting them go to make room for new, smarter habits.
For the full TED talk, watch it below:
Here’s a summary from TED:
"Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them? Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction — from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they're bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving."
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