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别让坏习惯消磨掉你的意志力 [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-6-20 11:20:19 |Display all floors


Post written by Leo Babauta.

——Leo Babauta

Have you ever set out to start a new habit or goal, but found your willpower lacking?
你是否曾想过要养成好习惯,设立新目标, 但却发现自己没有毅力实现?

Many new ventures are foiled by the morning email habit, for example — we want to exercise or write or meditate, but we can’t resist checking out email for just a minute … and then we’ve gotten lost, down the rabbit hole.


How can we build the willpower to beat these bad habits?


Reader Shanna Mann recently wrote:

     读者Shanna Mann近来写道:

“I’d love to see how to get over willpower being the final word on goal-setting :). I was doing morning pages this morning, and in spite of enjoying it, valuing the clarity it brings, and being able to quantifiably measure how much more productive they make me, I find it so hard to write them instead of check my emails first thing in the morning.


What the hell am I missing here?”


Shanna, of course, is talking about Julia Cameron’s suggestion to write three long-hand pages of free-flowing consciousness every morning, no matter what, before you do anything else. I’m kinda doing that right now, as I write this post.

Shanna是在谈Julia Cameron的三页建议。Julia Cameron说每天早上第一件事就是要写三页,想到什么就写什么,题材不限,文体不限。我现在也在写,你现在读的这篇文章就是其中之一。

It’s a beautiful habit. But Shanna is tripped up by the urge to check emails first thing every day. Is she lacking in willpower to achieve her goals?


In a word: no. It’s not a lack of willpower, but a very strongly ingrained (possibly bad) habit that’s beating her goal. Checking email first thing is a habit that has been repeated daily for years probably, with a positive feedback loop (I have new email! I’m productive!) that has reinforced the habit until it’s a very strong urge that’s hard to beat.


There’s also negative feedback for not doing the habit: you feel like you’re missing something important if you don’t check email, and so you go through withdrawal. It’s exactly how drug addiction works.


How to Beat the Addiction


So what’s the answer? Replace the bad habit with a good one. You can’t just stop a bad habit, because then you’re left with a gaping hole and nothing to fill it.


Bad habits fill real needs. In this case, email fills a need to be up-to-date, to feel important. You have to figure out what the need is first, and then come up with a strategy for filling that need in some other way. I would suggest replacing it with a habit that helps you to feel important (perhaps the morning pages) and maybe learning that you don’t need to be up-to-date right away — you can do it an hour later and still be fine.


There are several steps to beating a bad habit:


1. Figure out what your trigger is. For Shanna, her trigger for checking email is waking up in the morning. Every habit has a trigger — something in our routine that directly precedes the habit. For smoking, I used to have multiple triggers — drinking coffee, eating a meal, stress, drinking alcohol with friends, meetings, waking up in the morning, etc.

       1. 找出坏习惯的起因。对Shanna来说,查收邮件就像早上的闹钟。所有的习惯都有起因——我们日常生活中的一些事都为这些习惯铺平了道路。比如我以前吸烟,这是有很多原因的:喝咖啡、吃饭、压力、与朋友聚会喝多了、会议、早起等等。

2. Find a replacement habit. A small, positive habit to replace the old habit. Ideally it fills at least some of the needs of the old habit. Start very, very small in the beginning or you’ll be facing an uphill battle. If you want to write morning pages, don’t try to write three long-hand pages — do just five minutes. If it’s small, you beat the obstacle of dreading to do the new habit. When you check email, for example, you don’t say, “I’m going to do an hour of email now!” You say, “I’ll just check it for a second.” It often turns into more, but the point is there is a very low entry barrier.

       2. 找一个小小的积极的习惯来代替原来的坏习惯。新习惯至少能填补就习惯的空缺。新习惯要从小处开始,否则就准备迎接艰苦的战斗吧。如若要培养早上写作的习惯,写5分钟即可,不要想着一次写个3张。如果新习惯目标比较小,则很容易做到。比如当查收邮件时,你绝不会说:“我要看一个小时的邮件喽!”你说的是:“我只是看一两眼。”结果是看邮件用了很长时间。道理就在这里,查看邮件的障碍很小,很容易做到。

3. Engineer positive & negative feedback. If positive feedback has built up your old habit, and negative feedback is stopping you from quitting the old habit, you need to make these powerful forces work for you and not against you. You can’t beat them, so use them. Engineer positive feedback for your new habit: make the writing (for example) really enjoyable, with a cup of coffee and a quiet, peaceful setting, and focus on the enjoyability of it, not the hard parts. If you want to meditate, focus on how relaxed it makes you, not how difficult it is.

       3. 管理积极反馈和校级反馈。如果老习惯的积极反馈使老习惯日益根深蒂固,消极反馈也在阻碍你戒掉老习惯,你要做的是让这些积极和消极反馈都能为我作用而非阻我行动。不能打败积极和消极反馈,那利用他们吧。合理管理积极反馈,为新习惯铺设道路:比如写作的时候,找一块安静舒适的地方、捧一杯咖啡、专注于写作带来的愉悦而非艰辛。比如你要打坐冥想,多想想这将使你的身心轻松愉悦,而不是想着冥想有多困难。

Do the same for negative feedback for not doing the new habit. If you don’t do the new habit, what’s the consequence? Usually, nothing. You check email, feel a little guilty, but no one knows, nothing bad happens. So engineer a different consequence: tell the world (or a small group of friends) you’re going to change — announce it through Twitter, Facebook, G+, email, blog. And report your success (or failure) every single day. When the world is watching, you want to succeed. Have accountability partners. Don’t let yourself slide secretly.


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This post was edited by ttt222 at 2012-6-20 11:23

4. Do the new habit immediately after the trigger, consistently. If you can do it for a month, you’ll probably have a new habit. A new habit is built by doing an action immediately after a trigger, repeatedly, for a certain number of repetitions. There is no set number — it depends on how easy the habit is (which is why I suggest starting as easy as possible) and how consistent you are in repeating it. Report to your accountability group after you do the habit.

       4. 想培养新习惯要立即行动。一件事坚持一个月,也就成习惯了。有了想要培养新习惯的动机后,要即刻行动,坚持不懈,循环往复。重复的次数并不限定——这取决于你的新习惯的难易程度(这也是为什么我建议开始的时候从容易的地方开始)以及行动的连续性。向你的亲友团回报你的成绩。

5. Beat the urge to do the old habit. The urge will come, I guarantee you. This is where you say, “But I don’t have the willpower!” Yes, you do. Everyone does, but they just don’t know the tricks. I’m going to teach you the tricks so you have no excuses:

       5. 击溃因袭旧习的冲动。冲动肯定会来的。每到这时你会说:“我没毅力!”不,你有的。大家都有的,只是大家不知道其中的窍门。下面就是诀窍,所以不要再为因袭旧习的冲动找借口。

Pay attention to the urges. The urges win when you let them go unnoticed. They have power. Pay attention.


Know that the urges come in waves. They build up like a wave, they get strong, they crest, and then they go away. You just need to wait a minute or two before you’re over the crest.


Try deep breathing. Take a few very long, slow breaths. The urge is a feeling of anxiety, tightness in your chest. The breaths help relieve that anxiety, and it passes. Try some self-massage too — massage your shoulders to relax yourself.


Walk around a bit. Physical activity helps you to get over the urges. Walk, do some pushups, some bodyweight squats, jump up and down, do some shadowboxing.


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This post was edited by ttt222 at 2012-6-20 11:29

Use your accountability group. Call an accountability partner if you’re having an especially hard time. Make this person a promise that you won’t do the bad habit unless you call her first.


Give yourself little treats/rewards when changing a habit. Maybe daily, maybe once a week. It can work wonders to give yourself a pat on the shoulder, a massage, a nice dinner out, a big plate of delicious tropical fruit, for example.


Et voila. These small tricks will get you past the urges, which can be strong but will subside. And the miracle is, if you can do this for a week, you’ll be past the worst urges. They will start to get weaker and weaker, until they’re incredibly easy to beat.


Be mindful of the urges, of your rationalizations. Yes, there will be many rationalizations — our brains are very, very good at justifying doing the old action. Pay close attention. This is really the most important trick, and it doesn’t take a master of willpower to do it. We’re all capable of paying attention.


Beating old habits isn’t a matter of having a mountain of willpower. It’s a matter of paying attention, doing a small new habit in its place, and using some easy tricks to overcome the forces that work against us. Anyone can do it — I’ve done it many times, and I assure you, for many years I thought I had the least amount of willpower of anyone in the world. I was lazy, overweight, a smoker, broke and deeply in debt … the list goes on and on, but I was nowhere near disciplined.


If I can do it, you can. Willpower exists, but its importance has been built up in our minds so that when we fail at something, we blame it on lack. There is no lack, except in understanding of the forces that conspire against us.

         如果我能做到,那你也能。 毅力实实在在的就在那里。但是我们过分强调了毅力的重要性,当失败的时候,我们怪自己没有毅力。我们不缺毅力,缺少的是对强大的阻力的认识。

I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.’ ~Mae West

      “一般我会远离诱惑,除非难以抗拒。”~Mae West


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