As an example, let’s say that for the past ten years, you’ve been watching television for two hours every night in bed until 11 PM, waking up tired at 6:30 AM, rushing to get to the train, and grabbing a quick breakfast bar on the way.
In this example, you’ve been practicing three negative habits for a long time. When habits become automatic, you don’t just get rid of them with the snap of your fingers.
That’s one example of why when someone tells you to ‘cut that out’, it doesn’t work.
Here’s what does work:
Tonight, after you’re done watching your last show, read just one page of a book.
That’s it. That’s the beginning. Everything else that follows is for another night, not for your first night. Notice how nothing was restricted or taken away at first; we only added something in.
The rest of the progression might look something like this:
You stick with that for a while, building up the duration of reading slowly. Next thing you know it, you’re still watching TV, but you’re starting you’re reading at 10:30. Your brain is winding down, and you are actually falling asleep much earlier. (It’s probable that when you watch TV until 11, you don’t actually fall asleep until 12 or later.)
You’re getting extra rest, but your body still needs better food. Next steps will vary based on your body’s response, but you might test:
- Eating 2 bars instead of 1
- Eating a high quality bar instead of a crappy one
- Adding 1 piece of fruit to the 1 bar
Depending on how things progress, later you might consider other things, such as: making homemade bars for the whole month in advance, making a whole-grain breakfast the night before, or eventually, making yourself a fresh breakfast.
But not today. Today you start with one page of the book. You may have also heard this asked as “what’s your ‘make the bed’?” What is the simplest thing which you are ready, willing, and able to do today to get things moving in the right direction?
Do that thing.