Sunday 26 February 2017

Happiness is not the Goal, but a Tool to Unleash Creativity and Ambition

Our Western Society is constantly "selling us" on the quest to achieve happiness, and we must slog through endless grief and strife to reach this goal.  However, science is showing us that if we are happy, then our quest for purpose and meaning are easier to achieve, as our creative pathways are opened, and new ideas flood our minds and hearts.

Sunday 19 February 2017

It DOESN'T Take 21 Days to Change a Habit

The idea that it takes 21 days to change a habit is based on a work in 1960 by a cosmetic surgeon named Maltz who surmised that it took at LEAST 21 days for an amputee to adjust to losing their limb.  This knowledge was then extrapolated over the decades to mean that any habit could be changed after 21 days.

In 2009, study results published by Phillippa Lally in European Journal of Social Psychology found that rather than taking 21 days, study participants took anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit with an average of 66 days. The new 66-day rule has become a popular counterclaim to the original 21-day rule, but even this study was limited to a sample size of less than 100 volunteer participants.

Sunday 12 February 2017

The More Something Becomes a Habit, the Less Pleasure We Get

An interesting hypothesis, that as we turn our likes into habits, we lose our emotional connection with them.  In essence, we get less happiness from these special occurrences.

So if you want to continue to like something, the writer seems to indicate you shouldn't do it too often.

I'm of a different mindset on this: if it's enjoyable and positive, then you should be driven to do it more and more, and the prospect of doing it "more" to get a reward is not a negative idea. 

Of course, there is the "everything in moderation" advice which has merit.  But I love going to the gym and lifting weights; I really do!  And I know I can do it "too often" and end up injuring myself.  But it's a habit to go three times a week, and I enjoy it just as much every time, even though it's a habit. 

So have a read and see what you think! 

Sunday 5 February 2017

Three Reasons New Years Day is a Bad Day to Start a New Habit

Only 9% of Americans who make a New Years resolution feel they were successful in accomplishing their goal or adopting their new habit.

That means that 91% of resolutioners believe they didn't accomplish their goal.  And yet year after year, we belly up to the same bar to request the same tonic.  Problem is, we're working against how the human brain works.

One of the biggest problems is the day itself; Jan 1.  It's the day after a holiday binge of change, disrupted routines and, in many cases, stress.

So the first issue is that our conscious brains are already fried from having to accommodate all the changes. Evenings filled with extra shopping, interacting with distant family members, and visiting Uncle Chuck is sleeping in your bed, so you're sleeping in the basement with the dog. 

Secondly, we're feeding our mind and bodies a buffet of booze and candy, along with Uncle Chuck's mysterious fruit cake... which is filled with booze and candy.  We give into our body's addictions which give us mental spikes and crashes, and reduce our over all resiliency.

The third issue is then that to our mind, we have FINALLY arrived at the point where we can finally "get back to" our old dependable habits of our  everyday, easy lives. And then we say to our brain "Wait, we're going to make one major change. Who's with me?!"

Basically, the best time to change a habit if when you're already changing something else bigger.  For example, when you move your commute route changes.  That would be the best time to also introduce NOT stopping in for the familiar but greasy fast-food breakfast on the way to work.

Even smaller habits, such as changing the batteries in your smoke detector.  Marketers are using the semi-annual time change as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detector.  Sorry Saskatchewan (which doesn't change its clocks)...