This is a pretty interesting interview, including a discussion of how advertisers created habits around products to sell stuff: http://www.npr.org/2012/02/27/147296743/how-you-can-harness-the-power-of-habit
Developing and changing habits(11 posts)
A few minutes ago my wife came into the room demanding that I turn on NPR right now. I caught the second half. Tried to see if my library has the book.... not yet.
Yeah, that book's not out, yet. I'm waiting for it, too.
The lesson here is that you will acquire habits, both consciously and sub-conciously. If you want them to be good ones, you'd better think carefully and act accordingly to acquire them. Otherwise, you'll end up with a bunch of random habits dictated by your environment that may make you fat, sick or just unhappy or unfulfilled.
IMO, this is one of the fundamental differences between people who succeed at a given thing and people who fail. In fact, this is the foundation of the entire self-improvement industry dating back to the works of Wattles and Hill in the early part of the 20th century, and even further back in certain ways to Emerson, Montaigne and Seneca. Some have noted that the Sermon on the Mount's admonitions about cultivating habits of not thinking about sinning also fall into this same category.
Therefore I think it also is important to deliberately cut out external influences that impact negatively on your self-esteem and how you see yourself.
Interestingly, TV is such a force.
I did some reading on this isssue and compiled some of it in a blog-post (link here) and there is ample evidence that watching much TV makes you feel worse, because you start to compare your own normal life with that of all the interesting, rich and famous people there.
Anyone else having issues with this habbit:
@jzt83--haha, that's good. It doesn't even go far enough. I'd add...
learning in school
watching a sporting event
attending a conference
consulting your doctor
visiting your grandparents
reading a book
@dragline--I was taught (in Catholic class) that the reason it's sinful to think about certain things is because "if you never consider the sin, you never commit it." I'm a big believer in moderation in life, but they had a point. An ERE'r could substitute "purchase" for "sin" easily.
Yes, the same message is often packaged in different forms, whether its Earl Nightingale's "Strangest Secret" -- "We become what we think about most of the time" or the biblical edict of not thinking about something and thereby not becoming or doing it.
I was watching a recent interview of Ray Kurzweil, the noted futurist, the other day where he was talking about a new book he was writing and his scientific conclusion that "You are what you think". See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qmC6zx5KA8
Check it out at the 4 minute mark in particular.
Nice to see that modern science occasionally catches up with ancient and conventional wisdom.
Thanks, that video was interesting. I wonder if hypnosis/self-hypnosis falls under this category. I've learned self-hypnosis as part of a drug-free pain management program. Five years ago I would have thought it was bunk, but I'm a convert now. Telling yourself something and visualizing something repeatedly does seem to make a difference. There are obviously limits (telling myself I can fly won't work) but I do think there is great potential there.
Of course, talking to yourself all day can lead to other problems :P
I used to work in mass marketing for the consumer and then changing behaviour for the benefit of society.
Part of the puzzle is habit. But experience is another piece, Changing habits one by one works in the short term, but if you don't make it a positive experience in the long run your old habits will return.
For example I could say I will not go shopping at the malls. This may work in the short term, but you need to come up with a long term plan for you to not see it as a minus.
Because for many people its not about needing something, its the feeling of getting something different, about brightening up their day.
So if you find a second hand shop that you enjoy looking in, this can replace going to the mall.
Or you might meet people for a meal or cup of coffee, perhaps replace this with a walk and a thermos.
Whatever habits you're changing, make sure there are replacements which enhance your experience of life and lifestyle. (not the lifestyle you perceive others expect of you)
For example a marketer of toothpaste knows that if they just leave the purchase of toothpaste down to habit, the purchaser will eventually change brand or heaven forbid make their own. So they continually come up with hope for a new experience
Ie more white teeth, even more fresh breath, even more plaque control, different packaging etc.
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