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    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 £200, in 1997 this must have been a lot of money for a course – 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.

    ‘First, I asked myself: What if I succeed? Then it’s great, time and money spent well. Since it’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 £200 goes out of the window that I will never get back.

    The idea of somehow saving £200 was what made me to come up with a challenge.

    What if I skip the course, AND quit smoking? I will have time and money saved with 100% success. I wanted to prove myself that I can do it and I quit smoking.’

    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.

    What’s my goal? – I asked myself. My goal is to run faster. I have been running (on and off) for twenty years, and it’s always been a love hate relationship. What is more tedious than running is that my speed hasn’t improved one bit over the last years. It’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 pounds 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 he’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 ‘you can do it’. When I felt slowing down, I just started running harder. While it wasn’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 I’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?

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