Would you be willing to trade a vice for progress and success?
By "Vice" I mean the "extra 5 minutes" that accidentally turns into an hour, that extra Oreo that was completely unsatisfying. The habitual indulgences we know we don't really want or need, but continue to do anyway. Its possible to use these habits to our advantage. Rather than seeing our vice as something to feel guilty about later, we can view them as a currency of time and energy to be traded for something we want more. (The something is usually not as satisfying in the moment, but far more valuable in the future)
Nothing is actually free, so why not pay with something we are in excess of, and don't actually want in the first place?
In my experience the root of sustainable motivation is either love or desire. I love to make art, to spend time with my friends. I desire a fulfilling career. Coming to an emotional understanding that we can exchange something we feel less than great about for something we really truly want is a powerful tool. Recognizing when we step into the bounds of excess, we are able to use these moments as opportunities to change course and get closer to our goals.
By no means should we completely stop the source of our vice, it just means trading that extra hour ofDestiny for an hour of studies, trading that extra dumpling for a slightly healthier body. Over time these small acts accumulate and accelerate us towards our goals.
Often the taste of success is so good that we're no longer hungry
If you'd like to give it a shot keep a piece of paper with you for 21 days. Make a note whenever you realize you are slipping towards excess: Write down what the activity is, and what you were doing before you realized.
Write your goal on the back, and a contingency plan for what you are going to do instead.
Try to keep the latter activities related. If you are grabbing an extra Oreo, grab a glass of water. If it's an extra hour of Destiny because its fun and pretty, look up the art online and do a study or two instead. Better yet, try to find who the artists who inspired the artists at Bungie and do studies of their work.
If you'd like to take your understanding of habits to the next level, check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I've read it, its great.
Win, loose or draw, I want to hear about it! Let me know @MikeAckermanArt