If you have watched my introductory videos on the accountability page, you’ve heard me talk about stress eating. My weakness is grabbing a bag of tortilla chips when I’m stressed. That’s the bad diet habit that I’m really working on breaking. When I was 30 I could do that without consequences. At 40 the consequences include not having any jeans that fit properly and a lecture about blood pressure from my partner. So it was with deep interest that I watched Judson Brewer’s TED Talk A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit.
Brewer begins his talk with an explanation of why it is hard to pay attention to one thing for more than a few minutes before our minds wander to other things. Take that as a challenge to watch and listen to his entire nine minute talk before looking at something else like your email, Facebook, or even the related content around the video. If you pay attention to the whole talk you will learn about using mindfulness to break a bad habit. A big part of that mindfulness is thinking about why you are engaging in the action of your bad habit and what happens to you when you engage in it. In his talk Brewer shares an example of how smoker’s observations of the smell and taste of cigarettes change when she is mindful about what she’s doing.
Process of Breaking a Bad Habit
My observation from Brewer’s talk is that if you can consciously observe what is happening to you when you engage in a bad habit, you’ll be more likely to not engage in that habit. Therefore, the process of breaking the bad habit boils down observing what’s happening to you when you engage in the bad habit, deciding if that is beneficial to you or not, then choosing whether or not to engage in the habit again. Of course, this sounds simple but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. I’m going to give it a try.
Make a Mindfulness Lesson With This TED Talk
With the exception of one “PG word” in the talk, you could use this video to create a mindfulness lesson in a high school classroom. Before showing the video I would ask students to think about any of their own habits and why they have them. Then after watching the video I’d ask students to think about those habits again and if they can better identify why they have them.
Try using EDpuzzle to create a flipped lesson in which you ask a series of comprehension questions about the talk.
Successfully Broken a Habit?
Have you been successful in breaking a bad habit? How did you do it? Was it just a matter of will power or was there something more to it? Please leave a comment. I’m really interested in reading about your success.