2 min read

How to stop self-sabotaging in 3 easy steps (really)

I’m addicted to buying books.

Every time I finish training in the gym (3-4 days/week), I’ll get an idea to buy some book I’ve been meaning to read. I try to resist this because I already have about 20+ books open + 20+ more I’ve bought but haven’t read. But I’ll rationalize that somehow I really need this book. Then I’ll drive by the bookstore and buy it anyway.

I notice this has been happening every single time I finish training. For the last 5 months!

Gym -> Buying impulse -> Can’t resist and buys

I’ve been trying and failing to stop for 4 months!!

Like any addiction, this is a bad habit. A pattern I need to break.

Lately I’ve been doing a pattern-braking technique that’s given me a bit of success. Haven’t bought a book in… 2 weeks? That’s a 6-streak win!

Here’s how I broke my book-buying addiction:

Every time I get an impulse to visit the bookstore (always after training at the gym), I

1. Slap myself in the face (literally. ouch!)

Then I’d laugh out loud. It breaks the intense book-craving pattern. Then when I successfully drive away from the bookstore…

2. Pat myself in the head, say “good girl” and make a big goofy grin as reward.

Sounds and looks silly but it works!

Now it’s your turn to break your self-sabotaging patterns

Step 1: Notice when you get the impulse.

Do you automatically buy popcorn before you watch a movie? Head straight home after work, even though you really want to go to the gym? Get really pent up and frustrated when someone disagrees with you?

Step 2: Before you fulfill the pattern… Break it!

Slap yourself. Clap your hands loudly. Do 5 jumping jacks. Make funny faces.

Whatever it is, just try and break the pattern.

Step 3: Celebrate by patting yourself on the head and making a really big grin.

You’ll feel proud of yourself and more importantly, more motivated and likely to follow through with what you actually want to do: Ignore the popcorn, go to the gym, and talk calmly and peacefully.

Do this enough times, like 2-3x, and the impulse will become easier and easier to resist.

Sounds funny? Try it! You’ll be surprised.

But before you go, leave a comment on what habit you want to break and what pattern-interrupt you’re going to try.