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How to really change your habits...


Alexanderle
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7 hours ago, fofehi said:

As for bad habits

The interesting question is: What makes a habit bad? So sure, stuff like smoking already has a bad condition to begin with: You are screwing around with cancer. But then there are things like eating or gaming. They are not generally bad. But once you overdo them and they start controlling your life - you need to address them. So what makes the habit of eating excessive amounts of sugar less bad than smoking? Both can absolutely kill you and cause a number of diseases. The same with gaming. It may not cause diabetes or something, but if people neglect their hygiene, forget about their responsibilities and have no social connections anymore - once again a serious issue.

So therefore, I would summarize: The moment, a habit takes over your life and causes serious struggle with other important areas - it is a problem. And there is no indication that some habits are worse to overcome than others. For me it was easy to overcome eating too much sugar. For other people this is a serious battle. For them it may have been easy to overcome their porn overconsumption, which is still a struggle for me. A woman may have been a diehard smoker her whole life, but once she finds out that she is pregnant, she stops immediately and never starts again. 

Now the question is: Where is the difference? Saying that habits are different is only one part of the equation. Another important thing is that people are different as well. And then there are factors like your environment, how your needs are covered, your goals, your dreams, your identity - everything quite important.

12 hours ago, fofehi said:

Habits to change are not so easy.  there are habits that are associated with a strong psychological dependence.

Therefore, I would even say that changing habits is not very hard. You just need to stop doing it or doing it differently or doing it in moderation. The difficult part is basically everything else: The right motivation, the right environment to foster change, meaningful goals, your identity, which needs to match the motivation to create the change. This is where it gets tricky: You can literally force a person to only eat healthy stuff. You can punish him or her severly for making mistakes and screw around with their psyche. But if they don't define the change as something meaningful or as something they are capable to do then they will continue to eat junk food.

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One of those things you said are critical Alexander- the right kind of environment to foster change. I used to think meaningful goals were critical because they define everything else- but meaningful goals (except at certain stages like school and university) were very nebulous for me.

Part of your environment is the people. My development radically altered when I encountered an influential mentor who encouraged an appreciation of higher values, greater discipline, vision. there never happened a sense of “why am I doing this”, despite the fact that I had a vague idea that this person is helping me on a journey to find greater meaning. 

Leaders are life changers Alexander. You and the other forum members have helped me a great deal.

Edited by Amphibian220
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12 hours ago, Amphibian220 said:

One of those things you said are critical Alexander- the right kind of environment to foster change. I used to think meaningful goals were critical because they define everything else- but meaningful goals (except at certain stages like school and university) were very nebulous for me.

I agree. It is very important. But I still think meaningful goals are good as well. So the question is, like you said: What is a meaningful goal? And how far should I go to reach it? Think about Ronnie Colman, the former bodybuilder, who pursuit his sport up to the point, where he is today so severly injured that he is even having trouble to stand up. Several operations! Is it worth it? I don't know. For me personally, it would'nt.

12 hours ago, Amphibian220 said:

My development radically altered when I encountered an influential mentor who encouraged an appreciation of higher values, greater discipline, vision. there never happened a sense of “why am I doing this”, despite the fact that I had a vague idea that this person is helping me on a journey to find greater meaning. 

This sounds like an amazing guy. Where did you find him? I would say that someone like that can be a gamechanger. But up until we have found someone like that, we should find a solution for ourselves. What happens, when noone else is listening and talking? I can be quite orderly and productive, when people are watching. But what happens, when I am alone? This is, where those meaningful goals or identities can become very useful. The cool part about the internet is that we can have several "virtual" mentors at once. I certainly had some "mentor" for my fitness journey. Same for diet, procrastination or psychology. Think about the impact, a guy like Jordan Peterson on many people! I would certainly call him a mentor as well. But having a mentor really talking to you is so much more valuable. I admire you for that.

12 hours ago, Amphibian220 said:

Leaders are life changers Alexander. You and the other forum members have helped me a great deal.

Same for you man. And isn't it beautiful that even a small action by someone else can create a spark of motivation in someone else, which then grows into a life altering experience? So you certainly helped me as well. For instance, you made me realize that my hookup with this random person was a bad idea and in some way changed my beliefs about relationships to some degree. To the better I think. ^^

Edited by Alexanderle
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Alexander, I think I made an overarching observation from reading multiple journals and remembering the change in my reactions to real life issues as I gamed more and more.

How video games affect you: they create some sort of unrealistic attraction of “cleanliness or neatness” (can apply just as well to films and browsing). Once that starts to happen, a gamer can develop abnormal disgust to his real life needs because it is less clear cut and orderly, more “uncertain”. Human relationships are less clear cut and orderly, are more uncertain.

Eating healthy is harder because you may have to try food that lacks that immediate “kick” that fast food has. When I was a kid, I was scared of home made food cause I could observe how simple it was, that it was being used from the previous day, plates had some dirt on them. Later on, as my understanding became more profound, I could see that food comes to us from the earth, so the feeling of fear started to fade.

erotic imagery creates abnormal disgust to healthy relationships with the opposite gender. This is because it short circuits the entire process! The person just observes it, experiences a quick hit. But in a healthy relationship there are emotions, the need to look after each other’s values and goals, moments when your SO may get ill and not look as perfect as fake erotic imagery. 

This observation feels important to me. Video games sort of channeled me to be averse to healthy eating, averse to attempting less clear cut and uncertain social interactions in my life. Life became very sterile at that point and I was embarassed of normal bodily functions.

This is as much as I was able to introspect at this point.

edit: the mentor that you asked about was my teacher who took time to give extra lessons for free at his home. I cannot really express what masculinity and leadership is about in words, but I felt it with this man.

Edited by Amphibian220
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  • 2 weeks later...

@Amphibian220 Can you name some peer reviewed literature to look into this cleanliness aspect? Or is that your introspection? I generally liked to look at it from the perspective of control, where the massive chaos in the outside world is like a gigantic monster. Gaming is the perfect medium to gain the illusion of control. You can always restart. You can create a new character, if you feel incapable of creating your own personal real life character. It is easier to let your character train in gta then going to the gym by yourself. Speaking to people via discord is easier, when not being good socially in real life.

Generally speaking, once you start to observe that you can change some aspects in your life, this is like an innate power that grows and grows. And some point, you are not just starting to not getting worse and worse, but actually look out to chase some self set ideal and start to improve. We could try to change the term of control with cleanliness: If something is not very clean and a mess and chaotic, it might be hard for me to control it. Everyone knows, what kind of a feeling it is, when your appartment is a huge mess.

Anyway, very interesting insight. I will further look into this at some point.

@kally999 Do you know what is even less harmful than vaping? Not vaping! 

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I don’t read articles like that Alexander, but I was and am averse to volatility or uncertainty in my life and am learning to love and accept it. 

Example: my friend wanted to come to my house, but as I live in a rural area, my sewerage system is not designed to support many people. I was worried about this and just didn’t want him to come. I didn’t consider how to fix the problem snd make it manageable: my reactions are often defensive to any sort of bad possibility. “Cancel the meeting and leave everything as it is” The list goes on and on. Fortunately I deferred the decision to him and he came. We had a plumber come and fix some issues. 

At work I choose the path of least resistance and I think most gamers do. Life is a stage, express your emotions, make yourself felt and get into a fight with your employer. I still need to leave the nice guy character.

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On 5/18/2020 at 5:43 PM, Amphibian220 said:

At work I choose the path of least resistance and I think most gamers do. Life is a stage, express your emotions, make yourself felt and get into a fight with your employer. I still need to leave the nice guy character.

That is so true!

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I only read the original post and some of the last ones so I apologize if somebody has mentioned this, but have you read The Power of Habit? It changed my perspective on habits. It's not just another self-help book eschewing folk wisdom, there are a lot of scientific studies mentioned in it that are quite illuminating. My favorite (and I'm severely paraphrasing so don't claim this is 100% accurate) was about a girl who obsessively bit her nails to the point that her fingers were constantly bleeding. She got involved in a medical study revolving habits and the researchers had her make a note every time she felt the impulse to bite her nails and then immediately do something different, such as sitting on her hands at first. She was able to completely change her habit (the book is very persistent in its observation that you can't break habits, only change them) in just a couple of weeks.

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Brian,

I read some chapters from this book. It relates how business people arrived at the conclusion that habits are composed of the signal to act, the reward and the strong desire. The author says that you have to keep the signal and reward exactly as they are, but to replace the harmful activity and develop a strong desire for it.

say I really like strategy games. I started with Chess and this game allowed me to enjoy the following rewards : tricking, bluffing the opponent, catching him offguard, getting his recognition of my skill level. I then tried strategy video games and they added one more reward: stunning and captivating visual effects.

now, over the previous months I powered down. As i had less tasks, I started automatically constructing strategy games with beautiful visuals in my mind. I figure I need a job / sport with some planning elements and competitive side to it. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

in my case it was a game and i had to try to play less every day. and with those little bits after a while i could quit it. there was this quiz named name all the mobs quiz  which was a bot Minecraft, after taking it i just found that there is too much going on and i cant get hold of all of it. that is when it occured to me that i better stop doing it

Edited by mining_
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