• Ka-thunk! <- the sound of permanent cognitive change

    We've been talking about habits for a couple weeks now, and there was one last thing I wanted to mention. I used to be a project manager, and in project management there is a saying: "A plan is a picture of  how it ain't gonna go."

    That's what they say in software, anyway. In war, they say "No plan survives contact with the enemy."

    I mention this because it's January (still) and we're (still) seeing a lot of happy habit-building memes and slogans and posters at the gym. And I wish to point out this one thing because it will save us a little pain: No habit is established smoothly, perfectly and with total compliance. We don't go from one habit to the opposite habit without a few detours <- cold fact.

    But if we've been rewarding ourselves mentally when we actually do the thing we're trying to turn into a habit, we have a little mental flag in the sand. (Or the circuitry.) There's a bright spot up ahead that we can keep our eye on as we struggle back. And the quicker we find our way back, the oftener we'll do it.

    And the oftener we do it, the easier the path becomes.

    Some people would even say that staying on the path is second-best. That the whole point is getting back on after you've wandered off. That that's where everything happens.

    So again: Praise. Rewards. Plant the flag, and notice that satisfying neural ka-thunk! - the sound of permanent cognitive change - when you get back on with your habit.

Stop bingeing and overeating. Immediately.

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