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Replacing bad habits

It’s all about triggers and new behaviours.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

In Michael Bungay Stanier’s book, The Coaching Habit, he encourages the following formula to build a new habit:

  1. Identify the trigger.
  2. Identify the old habit.
  3. Define the new behaviour.

When I avoid work, it’s usually unfamiliar or too overwhelming. When I hit those moments, I use distractions to avoid doing them. My main culprits are video games, YouTube, movies, and TV shows.

In those moments, instead of using distractions, I force myself to sit in silence and stare at my screen until I’m ready to get to work. The key for me is to live inside the discomfort.

So my strategy is:

  1. Identify the trigger: discomfort from feeling overwhelmed or unfamiliar territory.
  2. Identify the old habit: video games, YouTube, movies, and TV shows
  3. Define the new behaviour: live inside the discomfort until I’m ready to do the work.

One final strategy that helps when approaching the work in step 3 is to start with something small, like a paragraph or short section.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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