If you could buy a better habit, how much would you spend on it?
I want to share a story that inspired me to break a bad habit recently.
I was sixteen when I first visited UK and I remember a conversation with a family friend telling his story about how he quit smoking.
He was a smoker for fifteen years and like many other smokers, he tried various ways with little to no success to give up smoking.
One day he heard of a local course that was advertised for smokers to help them quit with fairly high success rates, running over six weeks. It cost almost Â£200, in 1997 this must have been aÂ lot of money for a course â€“ he contemplated signing up. Since he really wanted to quit, he considered the course as an investment (in his health) and he began to mull over the various possibilities.
â€˜First, I asked myself: What if I succeed? Then itâ€™s great, time and money spent well. Since itâ€™s a lot of money to spend on a course, this itself should be enough motivation for me to keep going and complete.
And, what if I fail? If I carry on smoking as before, I have all the time wasted visiting a course and Â£200 goes out of the window that I will never get back.
The idea of somehow saving Â£200 was what made me to come up with a challenge.
What if I skip the course, AND quit smoking?Â I will have time and money saved with 100% success.Â I wanted to prove myself that I can do it and I quit smoking.â€™
His logical reasoning made me smile.
Recently, my friend got herself a personal trainer and she was telling me about the tough, but great sessions she started experiencing. This made me think that I should get her personal trainer to work with me, too.
Whatâ€™s my goal? â€“ I asked myself. My goal is to run faster. I have been running (on and off) for twenty years, and itâ€™s always been a love hate relationship. What is more tedious than running is that my speed hasnâ€™t improved one bit over the last years. Itâ€™s always the same; I usually end up having a one-minute walk as and when I want, and not even getting myself a smart running watch made me change that.
A personal trainer should be able to help me get out of this rut and I calculated a few hundred poundsÂ to spend in a couple of months. I then envisioned booking sessions on the weekends to fit around his schedule (and location) and run laps while heâ€™s standing there watching his timer. Right, so I would still need to do the hard work, while spending my money, too. It’s not the easy way out, is it?!
For the first time I thought I will try to see if I can break my previous records without having someone shouting at me that â€˜you can do itâ€™. When I felt slowing down, I just started running harder. While it wasnâ€™t easy to do, it felt as simple as turning a little switch on in my mind. My timings have improved 2-3 minutes within a week, and Iâ€™d expect myself to complete my regular 8km (5 miles) run in 46 minutes (or less) before the end of this year.
What surprises me is that I never thought of doing this before. It only took a little play with thoughts (from calculating how much I would spend on getting professional support and wanting to save all that money, all the way to simply changing the habit for real). It sounds like a win-win situation to me. How much would you spend on breaking a bad habit?