Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Focus On What You Will Do, Not What You Won’t Do

What You Will Do

Do you want to stop some bad habits, such as getting distracted to be better at execution, quitting smoking, or controlling your bad temper? Then plan for how you will replace your counterproductive behaviors with constructive, profitable ones.

What do I mean by this?

Too often, whenever we think of doing something to improve ourselves, we tend to concentrate on what we will stop doing. Not overeat, Not Overwork, Not Stay Up Late, Not Be Defensive, Not Over-react, Not Overspend, etc.

It is a well-known fact in psychology that trying to avoid or suppress a thought makes it even more active in our mind. For e.g., Don’t think of a juicy Mango !!. This same principle holds true when it comes to behaviors. Whenever we try NOT to DO something specific, the impulse to do exactly that gets strengthened rather than diminished. And in the process, we self-sabotage ourselves.

Focus On What You Will Do, Not What You Won’t Do

Therefore, the way we can deal with this predicament is by considering an alternative, positive behavior to replace the void created by the default behavior we are working hard NOT to DO.

Let me illustrate this with an example. Suppose you are someone trying to gain control of your bad temper and stop flying off the handle at the slightest provocation. You can decide upfront how you will behave(positive behavior) when you find yourself getting angry(default negative behavior). The plan will go something like this.

“If I start to feel angry, then I will pause and take five deep breaths to calm down”. The five deep breaths is the replacement for the negative behavior you are trying to stop.

If you are looking to stop any of your bad habits, don’t depend on your willpower. It will not work. Instead, decide on some good behavior you will focus on as a replacement for the undesirable one and then have an If-then plan.

If I feel the urge to do(Negative Behavior)—, then I will do(positive behavior)—.

Focus On What You Will Do, Not What You Won’t Do. You will be better in managing your bad habits.

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