Habits: Use this Election Season to Your Benefit

September 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Please don’t let me scare you away. My real intention for this post is not focused on politics. I am not endorsing a candidate or any particular political view. My goal is to help you develop one or more good habits.

2012 election season, develop good habits instead

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We are approaching the peak of a cycle that brings overdosed hype about the current election season. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you stand on, I am sure you’ll agree that there is a lot of talk that gets your attention and pulls on you emotionally.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of anger going back and forth between both candidates as well as their parties and supporters. None of this is productive or helpful. It’s just distracting and divisive.

Sadly, I think this is the goal of the process. We often think that the candidates are selling themselves to the public and what they want is your vote. To some extent, that is correct. But I have a much different perspective…

What’s really is being sold is you. I don’t mean sold in a way that can be confused with “being sold to”, as in being persuaded. Your attention, focus, emotions, thoughts, and your time are all being sold to the major media outlets, the candidates, their parties, and their campaign sponsors.

It’s that simple. You are the product being sold this election season. I urge you to resist the bait. Don’t let it bring negative impacts to you and your loved ones.

At this point in the game, you probably already know who you are going to vote for, right? So what’s the point of staying engaged?

Couldn’t you use your time for better purposes? Let’s try to do that now.

Habits: What are they and how do they work?

Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. They don’t start out this way in most cases, especially when you are trying to form good habits or break bad habits. Habits can take a good deal of work and dedication to develop or change.

I’ve included a short video (about 3 minutes long) from Charles Duhigg, the author of the best selling book, The Power of Habit. I’ve read the book and highly recommend it if you want to learn more about how habits work.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

How are habits changed?

You can read more in The Power of Habit, but here is a simplified explanation:

  1. Have a plan and write it down. - What do you want to change as far as introducing good habits or breaking bad ones? Write these down and have a plan. Think of a reward that you can give yourself if you meet your goal.
  2. Triggers and replacement habits. – As you saw in the video from Charles above, you need to identify your triggers and think of some replacement habits that you can use as an alternative to your regular habit.
  3. Observe and Act. – Be mindful of when these triggers take place and log them if you can. Once you observe the trigger, immediately focus your attention to carrying out the replacement habits you have established. Do this every time.
  4. Patience and Perseverance. – It takes time and hard work. You may slip from time to time, that’s OK. Just get back on track and be kind to yourself.

Some Good Habits I Recommend

How does this tie in with my introductory paragraphs about the political season?

Use the political rhetoric as a trigger.

Each time you hear or read something related to the election, use it as a trigger and execute one of your replacement habits. Choose from my list of recommended habits above or develop your own.

While everyone else is wrapped up in the political debates, you can use this time to develop yourself and work towards your goals. Habits, developed correctly and for good purposes, can be a major contributor to your happiness and success.

Please share a link to this article if you feel this is a better approach to spend your time during the next few months. If you tweet it, use the hashtag #dontbesold

What habits do you want to start or stop?

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