Thank you for the kind words you used to describe my blog. I can’t stress enough how much it means to receive comments like yours.
I do agree with your theory that “some of us would be more prone to falling for ‘bad habits’ than others.”
But it’s more complex than simply removing the trigger (I did give that option on Principle #3, but I know not everyone can do it). Why? Because habits create neurological patterns in your brain, and removing the trigger doesn’t change the patterns.
Unless you have extreme discipline (Navy Seal), or a huge incentive (actor losing weight for a role), most of us can’t switch from cake to beans and feel like nothing has changed, hence why the same diet doesn’t work on everyone.
Have you read the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg? You sound like you have.
If so, you know all habits have 3 patterns; a cue, a routine, and a reward.
e.g. (in the case of marketing):
- Cue: I see an ad (let’s say for a new shoe).
- Routine: I buy the shoe.
- Reward: I get a dopamine rush from purchasing a shiny new object.
This neurological pattern is hard to stop! Even if I tell you “don’t buy the shoe” your brain will always anticipate the reward every time it sees the cue (ads). That’s why it’s hard for you to resist ice-cream for example, you can already feel the taste of it in your mouth because your brain is anticipating that reward.
Even if I tell you “stay away from the cue” it’s hard to completely remove ads from your life (although I try my best with Principle #3, some of us can go cold turkey. But it’s a small number).
That’s why I give more options.
According to Duhigg, the best way to change a habit is (in his words). “you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine”.
I played around with that knowledge in my mind. That’s why I wrote:
- Principle #1 (keep the cue and reward but learn to differentiate good and bad ads)
- Principle #2 (keep the cue, change the routine and buy something much more worth it than shoes, get the same reward but it will last much longer)
- Principle #4 (keep the cue, change the routine and every time you see an ad you decide to save money instead, you’ll have a much higher and long-lasting reward when you see your net worth growing)
Sorry for the long reply, but this stuff fascinates me. I could write about it all day :)