How often do we find ourselves in a perpetual quest to discover something that excites us, something that we are passionate about?
The curious thing is that you can make yourself get excited about virtually anything. Once you realize that, the concept of “passion” becomes arbitrary.
The more excited you are about something -> the easier it is to learn about -> the easier it is to do -> the better you are at it -> the more excited you are about it. It’s a self-reinforcing loop.
By that logic, it is possible to use the excitement to get boring and tedious stuff done.
Don’t want to do taxes? Get excited about taxes. Don’t want to do the chores? Get excited about the chores.
The easiest way to get excited about a subject that you want to work on, chores, or habits you want to form is to over celebrate every time you do them.
Do boring stuff -> over celebrate it to get dopamine rush -> feel good about doing boring stuff -> get excited about doing it again.
That’s where the first loop kicks in if you’re using it to get excited about something you want to work on.
You can easily reverse this concept and use it to break bad habits.
If you want to break a bad habit or stop consuming something – sugar, coffee, alcohol, etc. – simply change your perception of it. Where the head goes, the body follows, and our perceptions precede actions.
We don’t do something that we don’t enjoy, let alone something that disgusts us. Let’s say spiders disgust you. You wouldn’t pet one every day or even enjoy looking at it, would you? Yet, what is this feeling of disgust towards spiders if not a simple matter of perception about them in your mind? After all, they are not that different from many other living creatures that we feel indifferent or even affectionate about.
If you can feel disgusted towards spiders, you can cultivate the same feeling towards anything else, including your bad habits.
One way to do that is by first learning about your bad habit’s negative effects and then vividly picturing those horrible effects every time you repeat that habit. Do that enough times, and these vivid images will begin to associate with the product/action, changing your perception. For example, when I stopped eating processed sugar, I’d anchored the image of clogged arteries to any product that contained it. Now, I don’t see a donut, but a clogged artery, making it difficult for me to want to eat it.
If it’s difficult for you to play with imagination, the other way is deliberate overconsumption. You could buy five chocolate bars, a couple of cakes, a pint of ice cream, a bottle of soda, and eat them all at once. You’d feel absolutely horrible afterward, which is perfect. Anchor that feeling, write it down in vivid detail, play it in your head, hammer it into your head. Then recall this feeling any time you’d have a sugar craving. Don’t eat sugar? Great. This method works for any other bad habit, just as well.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of how our minds and behavior can be shaped in almost any way we want. If there are any thoughts, believes, actions, or habits that are impossible to change, I have yet to find them.