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New habits and useful landmines

Installing a new habit and breaking an old one

This article's advice on “installing” a new habit is really quite good, but it's also useful just for its inspiring examples of what Danny and I have called “useful landmines”-pre-emptive ways to make failure in a given situation as difficult as possible. A few I especially liked:

You want to start carrying a bit of cash and not using your credit card.
Make it hard to do. Freeze your credit card in a block of ice.
You want to walk the stairs at work but keep taking the elevator.
Make it hard not to do. Tell everyone at work and ask them to say 'booooo' to you if they see you in the lift. Don't worry they won't ever have to be embarrassed to say it, because you won't get in the lift if you did.
You want to move more, your [sic] annoyed at your inactivity.
Make it easier to do. Take your TV remote to work and leave it there.
You want the habit of waking up 20 minutes earlier but keep pushing the alarm snooze.
Make it hard to stay in bed. Move the alarm, set the lights on a timer, set the TV on a timer.

As with things like The Forehead Ticket Trick, I know a lot of folks find it easy to laugh this stuff off and think it's all sort of dopey for such theoretically sophisticated customers like you and me to spend time on (“Just do it,” says the ambitious poster). But, personally, I'm attracted to any idea that takes a burden off of my mind and puts it squarely back into the physical world.

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TOPICS: Life Hacks, Tips

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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