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Projects about not-doing

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  • Projects about not-doing

    Hello,

    What are your thoughts on projects that are about becoming better at NOT doing something. Like, say, quitting smoking or becoming better at not drinking in social occasions?

  • #2
    Focus on doing something else instead.

    Originally posted by s_lyhne View Post
    What are your thoughts on projects that are about becoming better at NOT doing something. Like, say, quitting smoking or becoming better at not drinking in social occasions?
    You cannot focus on NOT doing. Focus on doing something else instead.

    Comment


    • #3
      Exactly, try not thinking of a blue elephant, for example.

      Any reminder for giving up a habit will just bring your habit to mind.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a different point of view.

        If you are wanting to stop bad habits there are couple of things that you can do.

        1) You create a list of reasons why you want to quit that habit.
        What will this habit cost you if you continue to do it?
        Why do you want to quit? How will this benefit you? etc
        Then whenever you are tempted to indulge in that habit you can pull out that list and reflect on it.

        2) You can download an app like "streaks" for iphone (I don't know any apps like this for other phones) but what this app does is it keeps track of your habits. So if you are wanting to work out, each time you do complete a work out you mark it down in streaks and it will track your progress.

        Some people use this app to have smoke free days, so if they were able to stop smoking for 3 days, and then they had a smoke on the fourth day, then they will have to start their streak all over again. It can be a fun way to track because then you start challenging yourself, saying things like, "Well I was able to do 5 days last time, let's do 6 days or 7 days this time.

        It's late but I will add more stuff tomorrow

        Comment


        • #5
          Just create a list of reasons and download an iPhone app...

          Originally posted by shane_k View Post
          If you are wanting to stop bad habits there are couple of things that you can do.

          1) You create a list of reasons why you want to quit that habit.
          What will this habit cost you if you continue to do it?
          Why do you want to quit? How will this benefit you? etc
          Then whenever you are tempted to indulge in that habit you can pull out that list and reflect on it.

          2) You can download an app like "streaks" for iphone (I don't know any apps like this for other phones) but what this app does is it keeps track of your habits. So if you are wanting to work out, each time you do complete a work out you mark it down in streaks and it will track your progress.

          Some people use this app to have smoke free days, so if they were able to stop smoking for 3 days, and then they had a smoke on the fourth day, then they will have to start their streak all over again. It can be a fun way to track because then you start challenging yourself, saying things like, "Well I was able to do 5 days last time, let's do 6 days or 7 days this time.
          So stopping a bad habit is a piece of cake - you just create a list of reasons and download an iPhone app...

          I strongly disagree. Both methods focus on bad habit which is a bad habit. You should focus on good habits.

          And in this "smoking" example it seems that the person trying to stop smoking periodically rewards herself/himself with a day of smoking. Very counterintuitive.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by s_lyhne View Post
            What are your thoughts on projects that are about becoming better at NOT doing something. Like, say, quitting smoking or becoming better at not drinking in social occasions?
            I word them in positive terms because often the brain does not understand the no and hears the bad thing as what you want. For example: Telling a child to stop slamming the door is heard as slam the door but saying Close the door quietly is heard and processed differently and is far more likely to result in less slamming.

            So for me I'd word your projects like

            "I am free of the smoking habit" with actions of perhaps "Identify the triggers that result in me lighting up a cigarette".

            and

            "I enjoy social interactions without excess alcohol" with an action of "Grab a large glass of water with a twist at any social event where alcohol is served as soon as I come in the door."

            Comment


            • #7
              Breaking bad habits is more of a goal than a project. However, that goal might involve the creation and completion of projects. Quitting smoking is a good example of a goal related to an area of focus (your health). Projects that might spin out of that include:

              Research smoking cessation programs
              Set up smoking cessation program x

              Comment


              • #8
                and for what it's worth...

                Originally posted by s_lyhne View Post
                Hello, What are your thoughts on projects that are about becoming better at NOT doing something. Like, say, quitting smoking or becoming better at not drinking in social occasions?
                Hello!

                You also might want to check out the book "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. If you become a GTD Connect member (and you can sign up for the free trial) there's an extensive discussion about the book and how GTD can help support better habits.

                Dena

                Comment


                • #9
                  Some suggestions:

                  -- the book "Willpower" by Baumeister and Tierney

                  -- this article: http://happiness-project.com/happine...-something-up/ It says that some
                  people do better if they quit something cold turkey, while other people do better
                  if they cut down to a small amount of the habit. Find what works for you.

                  -- Start one new habit at a time. the "Willpower" book says willpower is like
                  a muscle: it gets tired, but gets strong in the longer term with exercise.
                  Trying to start too many new habits at once is more likely to lead to the
                  willpower getting tired and giving in (but don't use that as an excuse!)

                  -- Make a list of reasons not to do the thing, and put it where you'll run into
                  it when you go to do the habit. For example, taped around the outside of
                  a package of cigarrettes; or get in the habit of pulling the list out of your
                  pocket and reading it just before entering the corner store to buy cigarrettes.
                  If you don't think about the habit, you don't have to look at or think about
                  the list either.

                  -- For chemical addictions, I've read that it helps to have plenty of vitamins
                  especially vitamin C.

                  -- I read somewhere that for both chemical and behavioural addictions, they may be related to
                  "reward deficiency syndrome" and may be helped by DMAE which you can
                  get by eating sardines.

                  -- If you want to quit drinking and smoking, some people find it works better
                  to quit drinking first. Otherwise you might forget and smoke when you're drunk.

                  -- Come up with activities to do instead, or to do immediately upon stopping
                  each time. They can be quick little things like laughing, singing a song,
                  swinging your arms and taking a couple of deep breaths, etc.

                  -- Tell people what new rules you've set for yourself; this puts a bit of
                  pressure on you to follow them

                  -- Hang around with people who don't do those habits, at least for the
                  first few weeks

                  -- Set rewards for yourself

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cheers

                    Thanks everyone for some insightful posts!

                    I especially liked the idea of defining some things to do in stead when the urge comes, and to make clear for myself why I want to break out of a habit. Thanks again. I shall return with some more questions regarding GTD, hich I have recently started with

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                      So stopping a bad habit is a piece of cake - you just create a list of reasons and download an iPhone app...
                      Actually no, I didn't say it would be a piece of cake.

                      Having a list of reasons on why you want to quit something, serves the same purpose and is just as powerful as having a list of reason why you want to start something.

                      And when you get the urge to indulge in a behavior, when you are in that moment of temptation, pulling out that list and looking at those reasons, can interrupt that pattern, and change your state of mind in that moment.

                      It is not always going to be easy. But it can help.

                      I will give you an example.

                      I am a Personal Trainer.

                      And I have a lot of clients who want to quit eating junk food, eating cake, eating McDonald's, eating pizza, quit smoking, quit drinking, etc.

                      And from my experience, I know that when they are in that moment of temptation, when they are standing in line at McDonald's, and they pull out that list, and see something like, "I don't want to feel fat anymore" or "I don't want to ashamed when I take my shirt off at the beach" that can be very powerful.

                      And most times they will change their mind and leave McDonald's without buying anything. And yes sometimes they will cave in and indulge.

                      And if you take a moment to think about it. This is like GTD in that when you want to do something, or even quit something you will have a list of reasons in your head. Writing that list down just clarifies them and makes it easy for you to reflect on them.


                      I strongly disagree. Both methods focus on bad habit which is a bad habit. You should focus on good habits.
                      As someone who has studied Psychology, NLP, and Personal Change, I can tell you that to say you should only focus on good habits is wrong and doesn't fit the real world.

                      Yes, with a lot of people you do want them to focus on good habits and the pleasure that will bring.

                      But there are also alot of people who are not motivated by the postive but by pain. And those people you need to get them to focus on the bad habits and what it will cost them if they don't change to get them to move and take action.

                      I can guarantee you that if you were to talk to David Allen about why people are learning GTD, alot of them will be focused on the good habits it creates, but alot of them will be focused on the bad habits, like procrastination, disorganization, having no control. and it is these things, the bad habits that drove them to find GTD and to start applying it.


                      And in this "smoking" example it seems that the person trying to stop smoking periodically rewards herself/himself with a day of smoking. Very counterintuitive.
                      Well that is probably because I did a poor job of explaining it. If you go into Itunes and read their description I am sure they can put it better than I can.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        People are different.

                        Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                        Actually no, I didn't say it would be a piece of cake. (...)
                        Thank you for your explanation. I've learned a lot.

                        And once again you reminded me that people are different and what motivates me (good habits and positive outcomes) does not necessarily motivate other people.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Are there things you can do to help yourself not-do? I imagine the following:

                          Stop-smoking prep:

                          - Create substitute hand-to-mouth habit
                          -- Try several kinds of mints; choose favorite.
                          -- Store mints in coat, in car, at desk at work, in backpack.

                          - Eliminate smoking break habit at work
                          -- Talk to Joe about joining lunchtime walking group.
                          -- Buy second pair of running shoes to keep at work for walks.
                          -- Stock up on murder mysteries to read at desk when weather makes walking impossible.

                          - Eliminate lunchtime smoking associations. (Cafeteria picnic tables associated with smoking.)
                          -- Research nearby restaurants.
                          -- Talk to spouse about budgeting for restaurant lunches for at least three months.
                          -- Daily reminder: Eat lunch out.

                          - Shift smoking associations
                          -- Choose a workplace smoking location where I otherwise never go.
                          -- Daily reminder: Smoke _only_ there.

                          - Eliminate smoking temptation
                          -- Ask spouse about social obligations for the next three months.
                          -- Decide which ones to cancel for smoking temptation risk.

                          Stop-smoking maintenance:

                          - Refresh mint supply if needed. (repeating, weekly)
                          - Refresh murder mystery supply if needed. (repeating, weekly)
                          - Evaluate further need for lunchtime out. (At two month mark.)
                          - Evaluate next three months' worth of obligations. (At two month mark.)

                          And so on, and so on.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Not doing" requires a lot of preparation and work.

                            Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                            Are there things you can do to help yourself not-do? I imagine the following:

                            Stop-smoking prep:

                            - Create substitute hand-to-mouth habit
                            -- Try several kinds of mints; choose favorite.
                            -- Store mints in coat, in car, at desk at work, in backpack.

                            - Eliminate smoking break habit at work
                            -- Talk to Joe about joining lunchtime walking group.
                            -- Buy second pair of running shoes to keep at work for walks.
                            -- Stock up on murder mysteries to read at desk when weather makes walking impossible.

                            - Eliminate lunchtime smoking associations. (Cafeteria picnic tables associated with smoking.)
                            -- Research nearby restaurants.
                            -- Talk to spouse about budgeting for restaurant lunches for at least three months.
                            -- Daily reminder: Eat lunch out.

                            - Shift smoking associations
                            -- Choose a workplace smoking location where I otherwise never go.
                            -- Daily reminder: Smoke _only_ there.

                            - Eliminate smoking temptation
                            -- Ask spouse about social obligations for the next three months.
                            -- Decide which ones to cancel for smoking temptation risk.

                            Stop-smoking maintenance:

                            - Refresh mint supply if needed. (repeating, weekly)
                            - Refresh murder mystery supply if needed. (repeating, weekly)
                            - Evaluate further need for lunchtime out. (At two month mark.)
                            - Evaluate next three months' worth of obligations. (At two month mark.)

                            And so on, and so on.
                            As I see "not doing" requires a lot of preparation and work. You must be really determined to do it!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                              As I see "not doing" requires a lot of preparation and work. You must be really determined to do it!
                              Quitting smoking was without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done (18 years ago) - these are great strategies! Although I admit, seeing it all down on a list makes it look quite daunting! (Hint: it is, but it's doable.) But then, sometimes my Mind Sweeps look pretty daunting too! Getting it all down on paper, y'know...!

                              Comment

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