Your Future Self

Respect Your Future Self
DSC_0182.JPG
Self-destructive habits can range from smoking, to sleep deprivation, to unhealthy eating. The task of quitting a bad habit, such as eating ‘junk’ food, is hard. In the present moment, we get instant gratification from eating foods, such as Oreos. This food is manufactured to be addictive and it’s difficult to stop at one, so we often devour the whole sleeve of cookies.
When we overindulge on junk food, we get an instant hit of sugar that releases a large amount of dopamine to the reward centers in our brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the body that plays a role in reward-motivated behavior. Most addictive drugs (sugar included) increase the levels of dopamine in the brain and make us crave and eat more.
The reason we struggle to change this type of behavior is because we are living in the present moment, and not weighing the pros and cons of each decision. Egonomics is a theory by Thomas Schelling that proposes we have two selves that are often at odds. You have a present self, who wants to devour a box of cookies, and your future self, who regrets your lack of restraint.
We think: Eating these Oreos are going to bring me enjoyment NOW.
We don’t think: This habit of eating Oreos could lead to obesity, health problems, self-esteem issues, and high medical bills LATER.
The answer to this dilemma is to replace the bad habit with a good habit that you enjoy immensely. Instead of eating a sleeve of cookies, sit down to your crocheting or take your dog for a walk. Focus on the enjoyment of the new habit and consistently replace the old action with the new one.
If you still want cookies, have a cookie! Diets that are too restrictive will backfire. Go out and buy yourself one cookie to enjoy, rather than diving into an entire box of cookies when Girl Scout season rolls around.
By Conner Edelbrock

Broken Chain = Broken Habit

DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN
Meghan White recently shared a strategy for developing better habits that Jerry Seinfeld used to become a funnier comic. Seinfeld said ‘the secret to creating better jokes was to write every single day.’ In order to motivate himself he used a large wall calendar and big red marker.
Each day that he finished his writing task he would draw a large “X” on his calendar. After a few days a chain of red X’s would appear. He said ‘your only job is don’t break the chain.’
We can apply this strategy to forming any new habit, such as going to the gym, eating vegetables, or mobilizing every day. Start by picking one goal and each day you successful complete that goal, mark a big “X” on your calendar.
There is also an app called Streaks, where you digitally mark an “X” on your calendar. A wall calendar serves as a visual reminder to continue your streak, but the app allows you to create several calendars, one for each goal.
One study by the European Journal of Social Psychology said it can take anywhere between 18 – 254 days to create a new habit, but on average it takes 66 days for something to become automatic. Focus one day at a time and soon your resolution will become a lasting habit.
By Conner Edelbrock