What Should You Stop?

You have limited time in your day, and limited juice to spend on your actions.

Right now, you’re using either 100% of your available time or so close to it that it might as well be. Unless you spend any amount of time in a dark room, awake but doing literally nothing but staring into the abyss, then you’re doing something with all your time.

Some of those things are undoubtedly not as helpful to you as they could be. We all (and please let me stress that I’m absolutely included in this) have habits that, even if they’re not actively harmful, are soaking up resources that could be much better spent on other things. Since you’re using 100% of your time now, you can’t add productive activities without removing something.

Those things can go hand in hand. In fact, I think that’s a great way to do it – it’s easier to replace smoking with something else than to just quit smoking.

Here’s a thought exercise for you: make a list of all the things you’d like to stop doing. They can be great or small, and the list can be long or short. Doesn’t matter. Do you want to stop drinking? Maybe stop spending so much time on Facebook? How about quit screaming at other drivers on the highway? Put it all down on a list.

Then, in the next column, jot down roughly how much time you spend on each of those activities, both in duration and frequency. “A few hours, twice a week” or “15 seconds, about 3 times per drive,” etc.

And then finally, in another column, for each one of these items, write a positive activity you could do instead that takes about the same amount of time.

  • Things To Stop – Time It Takes – Things To Do Instead
  • Hit The Bar – 2 hours, three times a week – Hit The Gym
  • Yell At Drivers – 15 seconds, 3 times per drive – Practice Gratitude
  • Browse Facebook – 30 minutes, 4 times a day – Write A Book

Like that. Once you have that list, don’t try to do everything at once. You’ll go crazy, and probably fail. Instead, just pick one. Don’t worry about which one you do first – just pick literally anything and get started.

Now you have a framework. You have something you want to do, and no excuses about “not having enough time,” since you’re trying to eliminate a bad behavior with an equal time commitment. You’re simultaneously working towards your goals and eliminating the things standing in your way.

It’s hard to do positive stuff because you never have the time, and it’s hard to stop doing negative stuff because you’ve built habitual pathways. Use each of those problems to solve the other!

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