An Easy Way To Change Your Habits


We all have things to change in our life. Whether we need to prune out bad habits or add more nourishing ones.

We know…

But doing it??? It’s often easier said than done.

I’m currently reading the brilliant book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. He introduces the concept of changing our habits by changing the activation energy required.

Activation energy is the amount of effort it takes to do something.

For the things you want to do less or quit, you need to increase the activation energy.

Make the task more challenging to do.

This means, for example, if I want to spend less time on Facebook, I need to make it much harder to get there in the first place. Deleting the app from my phone or ipad or disabling cookies so my computer won’t remember my password are ways to make it much harder to do that activity. Often times the very hassle is enough to change our mind about doing it. This example is a personal one for me. After I deleted the FB app from my phone and ipad, I was left to only checking Facebook on my desktop computer–which is upstairs and totally out of the way of all other day to day activity. My habit was significantly reduced immediately and I didn’t have to completely deprive myself either. I just made it impossible to participate at every waking moment of my life! Significant life improvement results followed 🙂

For the things I want to add into my life, I need to decrease the activation energy.

I need to make it as easy as possible to do that activity.

I have always struggled drinking water. I’m sure that I’ve been chronically dehydrated for probably 30 years. I’ve bought fancy water bottles, filters, and set numerous resolutions to no avail. Then I decided to simply fill up a large pitcher of water and leave it out on my kitchen counter all day long. My water intake has increased significantly because it’s so easy to see and remember.

How have you changed the activation energy in your life for positive results? I want to hear your story! Leave a comment and let me know!

8 Responses

  1. Great ideas! I think I have also been chronically dehydrated as well–glad to hear I’m not the only one, but more glad to hear a great idea. I have done that before and it works great for me too–the trick is remembering the fill the pitcher! Aughh! Why do simple things sometimes seem so hard? I will try to implement the general idea of this in more areas of my life. Thanks for passing on the wisdom!

  2. LOVE it! Oh how I need pruning. I have such a hard time pruning things that I love even when I know they are not serving me. There is something inside of me that gravitates towards being involved in everything. I have two businesses, I am a full time mom, I am always creating personal projects (mothers retreat, giant Mormon flash mob, woman of worth evening etc…), have three callings in my church, help run a mother and tot preschool program, cook 30 freezer meals a month, learning to play the piano and I was just asked to join the PTA and I want too but know that unless I prune there is no space. It is SO hard!

    I don’t know why I need all these branches to feel successful. I find myself envying mothers who are so content with three branches while I have my 12. Oh how I wish I could let go of some but I don’t know how to ACTUALLY do it. I know the theory but in reality it is so hard. Perhaps I have to quite cold turkey on somethings…

    I am on a spiritual journey trying to understand what I need right now. I hope I can be courageous enough to prune some branches but it feels like I might loose parts of me. The thing is if I don’t prune I will loose parts of me due to over stress and anxiety.

    I will keep you up dated:)

    1. Holy Smokes! Jessica! You have a ton going on! I have already tried writing out my thoughts and got carried away, so I’m just going to write another blog post on the topic of pruning! ha ha ha! I LOVE this topic 🙂

      Look for it soon! Thanks for the inspiration for a great discussion!

  3. About a month ago I deleted the FB app from my iPad and I noticed right away a significant decrease in the time I spent looking at FB. And I’m not kidding you, I got halfway through reading this post and stopped reading just so I could remove the app from my iPhone, too. Such a simple thing and I expect an even more significant decrease in time wasted on FB!
    Now to work on that habitual glass of wine every nite 🙂
    Thanks Brooke!

  4. Brooke, Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am deleting the FB app off my phone now! I am also going to buy a small box for my husband & I to put our phones into from 5 PM – 8 PM so we can have focused quality time with our boys. I was actually busy this week packing up our house to put it on the market and I realized that I haven’t been on my computer for 4 days and it has been great for my soul!!!

    1. Great ideas Kelly! Such a small thing that makes such a HUGE difference! Happy face to face quality time to you 🙂

  5. Dear Brooke:

    I feel as though you are a close friend, even though we haven’t met! I began exploring your site as I got a new camera and have become a photographer for my personal family. But in the process you have helped me with things much deeper. Thank you for your wise thoughts on pruning and becoming a better version of myself. I have applied many of your ideas to the benefit of my family and self.

    Thank you friend!

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