I guess we all know what’s good for ourselves (or our friends and relations, or our community, or the world) – but we still keep on acting against this knowledge most of the time – or sometimes at least. That’s perfectly ok of course, but one cause for this are habits, which are burned into our nervous system and make us repeat the same patterns again and again.

But I just want to tell a little story:

a few days ago I had a fracture in a bone of my right hand, and currently the only finger left to be used is my thumb. Well, this is not the worst thing that can happen to you in your life, still I felt miserably the first day, and on the second day I was really depressed, but on the third day I started to develop little hacks/workarounds for various tasks.

However and switch of subject: I drink way too much coffee. I have one of these italian stove-top Espresso Machines, and when I wake up in the morning I automagically find myself preparing and sipping coffee, and then various times more throughout the day. I don’t think I’m addicted (every addict claims this), but it’s a habit. I tried to drink less coffee various times without success, so I just went with the flow.

But since I only have my left hand available, this behavioural pattern changed. It’s still the first thing I do in the morning, but during the rest of the day I started to drink tea instead. I had no intention to drink less coffee this time, it is just a little bit too cumbersome to prepare it. I bought a variety of herbal, black and green teas in bags (I hear all Brits unsubscribe now), and it’s just much more convenient – and actually a pleasure for the senses.

My takeaway (and note to self, I hope to expermiment with this theme a little bit in the future) from this is: if you want to break a habit, try to artificially raise the effort and/or the costs for doing it. Everyone’s mileage varies of course, but we are pretty versatile actually, and we will readjust and start living smarter.

You poor old chap, now a few cells in the other half of your brain are beginning to come to life. A very good training for “life balance”, just think of it as a sort of Tai Chi Hack, exploring the dark side of the moon…
posted by pps : 11/16/2005 04:10:11 PM

… and don’t feel so bad about the tea bags. Fact: 90% of british tea drinkers use tea bags! Another myth goes pop!
posted by pps : 11/16/2005 07:13:31 PM