Negative habits, such as procrastination can be hard to break.
The mind is always evaluating the balance between the pain of changing and pleasure of succeeding.
Your mind always weighs the perceived benefit of an action with the pain of having to do it.
To change you need to change the balance between pain and pleasure.
That is the cause of procrastination and why it is hard to break bad habits.
If the pain out-ways the pleasure you won’t change, it is the same with procrastination – if the work is harder than the reward is pleasurable you won’t start.
How to tip the scale
There are three ways to make change possible, you can either;
1. Add more pleasure – increase the reward.
2. Decrease the pain
3. Completely change the focus of the pain.
Increase the reward by offering yourself more, an example can be allowing yourself to buy something you really want or you can vividly imagine the sought result that makes it more real and makes your mind give the perceived pleasure even more value.
By making it easy to start it becomes easier to get going – see the article about procrastination on setting the table.
Change the focus of the pain
Create a strong pain for not starting; it can either be a punishment or you can think about how much it hurts not to start, the consequences of procrastinating or continuing with your negative habit.
An example from life
Someone might really want to change their habits, for example their health habits, but for years they haven’t been able to break their habits, until one day the doctor tells them that if they don’t change, soon, they will die.
All of a sudden the pain of not starting is so powerful that they change immediately.
A simple way to change the balance
Making a list of the benefits of starting and completing a task will give you a chance to see and visualize the pleasure of completing the task.
Continue adding to the list until you have enough on it that it completely conquers your procrastination.
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