If you vowed to eat more fruits and vegetables on the same day you vowed to give up drinking soda for a month, which would be easier to accomplish?
If you're someone that already likes fruits and vegetables or someone that loathes soda, this might be a bad example, but you get the idea. Is it easier to add a healthy habit, or give up something you know is bad for you?
Adding a Good Habit
Usually when you add a good habit like drinking more water or exercising there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with the behavior. You execute something and feel proud of yourself for doing it.
When adding a good habit you have the advantage of being able to pair it with your daily routine or other good habits you have. You are simply adding a single building block to your life to make it a little bit healthier.
The more times you repeat the good habit, the easier and more natural it becomes in your routine.
This principle also applies to dieting. It is easier to add healthy foods than take away unhealthy ones. When you restrict the foods you can eat it may even make you want them more. But if you tell yourself that you want to add a serving of vegetables to every meal, you will start eating better without much effort at all.
Removing a Bad Habit
The trouble with kicking a bad habit is that it's inherently less satisfying. Mostly because you aren't doing anything. If you tell yourself you are going to give up drinking soda, you simply don't do it.
A distinct lack of action is less satisfying to us than taking action. Bad habits are too appealing while not doing them leaves us feeling we are missing something.
The best way to get rid of a bad habit is to create a satisfying action to go with it. When you don't a drink soda with your lunch, you put a few dollars towards a relaxing massage. The satisfaction is then attached to the action of putting away money for something you want.
Try It Out
Whether you want to try a new healthy habit or get rid of an old one, you can use the strategies above as well as the others I have mentioned in previous articles.
But if you're looking for the highest chance at success, try starting a good habit first.
Once you've mastered that, you can start eliminating your bad habits one by one.