Temptation bundling is the idea of tying together two activities — one you should do but may avoid; and one you love to do but isn’t necessarily productive. It is a trick I have used extensively the past two years to get results. Whether it is memorizing lines for a show or running five miles, I have been working on building new habits.
What better day to re-baptize myself in blogging than with the combination of good and bad tastes. Essentially, temptation bundling changed my morning routine. In order to get myself out of bed and into action, I bundled bacon and morning pages: eggs and a mile: coffee with reading.
It sounds simple enough, a rule handed down by our fore-fathers, but nothing ignites my day better than an early start and great breakfast. The gift I gave myself was bacon and coffee, nearly everyday. In return, I would read, write, and draw every morning. The results are a stack of books and ton of digested plays as well as a bag full of journals and notebooks.
Since the early days of forming this habit, I have since backed off the bacon (although this morning did start off with three pieces of that apparently cancerous meat). We all know there are the things we should be doing: exercising, planning, working on our dream project. Yet, in today's world of Netflix and Hulu, there are so many temptations to get past. The solution, why not marry them? Apply a 1:1 ratio of work and play.
A habit, whether good or bad, is simply a loop. We experience a trigger, we seek out a desire, and we consume. Cue: Routine: Reward. Therefore, if we can connect the routine with a high quality reward of where our tastes our today, we can set ourselves up to accomplish the things we want to do.
The trick here, when first starting out, is to keep it simple. In acting, as in life, the rule of KISS applies. So, if we wish to start a running habit, then we need a strong enough reward to get us moving. For me, my reward for running was craft beer. If, and only if, I went for a three mile run, I could grab a quality beer from the local mart.
Today, working out, whether it be kickboxing, yoga, or three miles, is a part of my every day life; however, I did not start at that point. I needed something, a vice, to propel me forward into action.
If ever there was a hack to put into use, why not this one? Use your body's desires to get the things you want. Want to write a short story? Reward yourself with a cookie. Want to develop a drawing routine? Then ask yourself, what is something that gets me going.
Remember, these are one step at a time. Don't try and save the world in a day. In improv, we talk about bring a brick. In order to play onstage, you don't have to bring the whole story, you just have to bring one brick at a time. It's the same in our every day lives. In order to do great things, we must act first. Greatness is a habit. Bring a brick one day. Then come back the next day with another.
Brock D. Vickers
This is the beginning of a new part of life: a habit: an idea: a routine to dig at what makes a man great.