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Breaking Bad Habits with James Clear: Do you have bad habits? Are they costing you money? We learn ways of breaking those bad habits and replace them with healthy ones with James Clear.

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Do you have bad habits?  Are they costing you money?  We learn ways of breaking those bad habits and replace them with healthy ones with James Clear.
James Clear’s first site, Passive Panda, is dedicated to helping people earn more money through freelancing, employment, and entrepreneurship. He started studying the psychology of why people clicked on certain links, read certain articles and bought certain things. The more he learned, the more interested he became in how habits shape our lives and his new project was born.
How Habit Shapes Our Life
We repeat about 40% of our behavior almost every day. Think about it. Do you brush your teeth every day, wipe down your countertops, take your vitamins? Yep, those are habits. Over time, certain habits can become part of our identity. I’m a runner and when I broke my foot (not running) several years ago, I had to give it up for weeks. It felt strange like I was not myself anymore.
This applies to bad habits too. Do you always drink a soda with your lunch, have a cigarette with your first cup of coffee? You probably don’t even think about these things anymore, they’re just automatic, a habit.
Creating A Habit
There are three steps to creating a habit:  reminder, routine, and reward. Even bad habits have rewards, that’s why they become habits. James uses the example of your phone ringing. The sound is the reminder, the routine is to answer the sound, and the reward is finding out who is calling.
If the reward is a positive one, even if the habit is negative, you will start to repeat the behavior, or routine, each time you receive the reminder. If this happens enough, you’ve developed a habit.
Take The Emotion Out Of It
Do you wait until you “feel like” doing something to do it? What if you never feel like doing it? Or by the time you feel like doing it, you haven’t left enough time to actually get it done. If you have things that need to get done, set a schedule and do them.
Don’t wait until it’s easy to start. James sticks to a specific publishing schedule and that is what has  made the biggest difference to his work.
Habit Stacking
Habit stacking is a method that can build a new habit into an existing one. Look at something you do regularly, laundry for example. You can stack a new habit into this routine. Every week when you do your laundry, you also set up your budget for the week.
Doing the laundry is the reminder, including budgeting with the laundry makes it a routine, and the reward is better managed finances. Now you’ve attached a new habit to an existing one, making it more likely to stick.
Tiny Gains
James wanted to build a habit of gratitude. He chose a time of day and started thinking of one thing to be grateful for. This on its own, one thing, doesn’t seem like a lot but over a week or a month or a year, that’s a lot of gratitude stacking up. Even if the behavior is small, the gains are cumulative.
Breaking Bad Habits
How do you break a bad habit? It’s easier to replace a bad habit than to eliminate it. Figure out what reward the bad habit is giving you. Do you eat when you’re bored?
Eating alleviates the boredom because it gives you something to do. In order to break this habit, find something healthy to do that isn’t eating. Write an e-mail, call someone, go for a walk, clean one drawer in your dresser.
Because habits identify us to some degree, associating a negative identity to the habit you want to break can help. When you think of a smoker, what do you think of? Dirty, smelly, weak, unhealthy? Those are things none of us want to identify as.
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