Escape the Mundane + Experience the Remarkable

How-To Change Any Habit in 20 Seconds

Newsflash: Turns out we are generally a lazy species.

Which you’ll shortly see is good news for those looking to switch out a bad habit for a better habit.

I recently finished reading Shawn Achor’s excellent book, The Happiness Advantage and I found a very intriguing concept. A concept that’s only 20 seconds in practice. Yet can change your life.

The 20 Second Rule

We all have a vice we’d like to exchange for a better alternative. It may be grabbing that cookie instead of a handful of celery. Or it may be plunking down in front of the TV instead of reading. Whatever it may be, there’s hope.

Shawn described how a cafeteria could reduce the consumption of unhealthy snacks by moving the ice cream cooler further from the lunch line. Or increase the chances of reading a book by placing it next to the TV remote and moving the remote’s batteries into the next room.

To explain further, when you make your bad habit harder to do while making the good habit easier, you are much more likely to take the easy route.

The golden rule is to make your vice 20 seconds away, while making your good habit immediately available.

A few possibilities that come to mind:

Want to start working out in the morning? Get creative with the locations of your equipment, gear and shoes.

Looking to stop eating unhealthy snacks? Place the treats on the furthest, highest shelf.

Been wishing to only watch TV on the weekends? Unplug the HDMI cable in back.

Need to escape from work at night? Leave the Blackberry and work laptop in the furthest room.

Tired of wasting your day on distracting websites? Use this plugin for Firefox to block sites and require extra steps to access them.

To Conclude

While this may seem like a simple idea, I hope this will help you change some of your habits. Good luck!

Do you have any examples or experiences you’d like to share?

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