Why BAD HABITS are so EASY to pick up + Good Habits are so HARD to Ingrain Path of Least Resistance
Video: Why BAD HABITS are so EASY to pick up + Good Habits are so HARD to Ingrain Path of Least Resistance
What is the reason the bad habits are so easy to pick up, while the habits that we know will be beneficial to us, are so hard to ingrain?
The immediate outcome of a bad habit, like a daily Snickers bar, is rather favorable. You get immediate uptick in energy, your taste-buds get a pleasant type of stimulation, and you feel, of course, “satisfied.”
However, over the long run repeating this action, you get fat and overweight, you develop diabetes, and all the negative ramifications of excess and sugar.
With good habits it’s the reverse, the benefits appear far into the future. For example, working out, be it running, lifting weights, yoga, especially when you first begin, does not give you immediate pleasure. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, you sweat, your body aches, you don’t look any different when you look at yourself in the mirror.
Every fiber of your being says “why do I want to go through this again and again?” You have to be able to look down the road towards the ultimate benefit that you will derive, which is not easy given the fact that we have historically lived short lives, with food in short supply.
So let’s get a time machine go back to the year 1400, and offer any random man a Snickers bar. You better believe that thing would be devoured, and the next one you offered him, and the next, and the next, because the odds of him ever able to have presented in front of him that caloric intake combined with tasty satisfaction, in his mind would be nil.
Not to mention the odds of him ever living long enough to suffer from diabetes from over consumption of chocolate, are close to zero as well. Few autopsy reports from the era list diabetes as cause of death.
Whereas in the path, because survival was so difficult, food so scarce, and life span is so short, the world was tailored Game theory for virtually anyone alive stated to take the immediate pay off in almost all circumstances.
This has been pretty much embedded into our DNA, and it’s why children can eat candy until they puke.
However, due to the technological revolution, and the advance of civilization, the pay off of delayed gratification becomes greater and greater in today’s world. You can spend the money you earn today on something that will be immediately pleasurable: a fancy meal, a high priced Prada bag, a fancy upgraded car, OR you boringly save towards a retirement where your investments are reaping the rewards of increase productivity, and thus allowing to spend your time doing things you find more pleasurable.
Again, evolutionary, our brains are wired to prioritize an immediate positive outcome for ourselves.
According to James Clear, “the cost of your good habits are in the present, the cost of your bad habits are in the future.” This requires a shift in thinking from our Paleolithic wired brains, to ones that are able to extrapolate the cost of present-day actions into future events.
The path of least resistance
Our decisions almost always are guided by the path of least resistance. I know that in many things I almost always have to consciously choose against the easy path, the path where I have to do very little, and consciously make the decision to head down the more arduous road, in order to embark on something that will cause me to grow, bring me greater gains in the future.
The best way to reduce that resistance, is to smooth out that road with a WHY.
In his book, man’s search for meaning, demonstrated the those lucky enough to survive the Nazi death/forced labor camps always knew their WHY.
To quote Friedrich Nietzsche, ”He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
So to truly develop a good habit in the face of great friction and adversity, you have to focus on your WHY, every day!
Then, knowing the Y, no the habits that you want to develop that will help you reach your ultimate goal. Whether that be organization when starting a business, being prepared for every meeting, or workout habits in order to reach the goal of an ideal body and health, knowing your Y will help overcome the desire and natural human tendency to revert back to the path of least resistance.
So, I hope that I’ve helped a little bit in understanding of habits that shape our lives, and maybe you’ll recognize the change that you desire to make in yourself, and understand where your impulses are coming from. Peace out.