Want to Kick a Bad Habit? Do Nothing!
A recent study
by researchers at Idaho State University and University of Southern Mississippi found that those who try to actively change bad habits may be setting themselves up for failure. "Popular views of self-control maintain that individuals should exert willpower, fight temptations, overcome desires and control impulses when they want to successfully control their own behavior," says University of Illinois graduate student Justin Hepler, who led the study. "Ironically, in these situations, people are often 'fighting' to do nothing. For example, they want to not
eat a piece of cake."
Researchers found that it's better to think along the lines of I'm not going to do it right now
—in effect tabling the decision. "Attempting to motivate oneself to be active in the face of temptations may actually lead to impulsive behaviors," says Hepler. "Becoming motivated for inaction or calming oneself down may be the best way to avoid impulsive decisions." So, if you're trying to kick a chocolate habit, then don't fight the urge to break out a Hershey's bar; simply put off making the decision... indefinitely.