Don't plan on it

Everyone interested in self-improvement knows that breaking a habit can be just as hard as creating a new one. It's true! Quitting behavior like biting your fingernails, checking your phone during dinner, drinking alcohol, or viewing pornography presents one of life's greatest challenges. How do you stop?

As I work to ditch habits I feel impede my personal progress, I find myself repeating the same thought after a relapse: "I'm not planning to slip up again." But in many cases I do...over and over. You know the feeling--frustration!

I may be splitting hairs here, but I think there's a big difference between not planning to do something again and planning to not do something again.

What's the difference? In version one you don't do any planning. In version two, you do. Call it semantics, call it deductive logic, call it whatever...it's an important difference! 

If I don't plan on doing something, that doesn't preclude me doing it again. It just means I don't intend to do it again--I'm not actively laying plans to commit my next offense.

If I plan to not do something again, it's just the opposite. I set goals, make plans, and lay out a strategy to avoid repeating the behavior. 

And it's important to remember that without a goal, no amount of planning will benefit you. If you find yourself planning behavior modifying activities, but you haven't set a goal for what exactly you want to accomplish, you're doing it backwards. 

Carefully considered goals will give you clear direction in your planning, which will help you fill your days with activities that will effectively help you kick that nasty habit.
by Tyler Smith





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