/ David McRaney / 4 am Fri, Aug 29 2014
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  • Why do you sabotage yourself when trying to break bad habits?

    Why do you sabotage yourself when trying to break bad habits?

    Why do you so often fail at removing bad habits from your life?

    You try to diet, to exercise, to stop smoking, to stop staying up until 2 a.m. stuck in a hamster wheel of internet diversions, and right when you seem to be doing well, right when it seems like your bad habit is dead, you lose control. It seems all too easy for one transgression, one tiny cheating bite of pizza or puff of smoke, and then it’s all over. You binge, calm down, and the habit returns, reanimated and stronger than ever.

    You ask yourself, how is it possible I can be so good at so many things, so clever in so many ways, and still fail at outsmarting my own vice-ridden brain? The answer has to do with conditioning, classical like Pavlov and operant like Skinner, and a psychological phenomenon that’s waiting in the future for every person who tries to twist shut the spigot of reward and pleasure – the extinction burst, and in this episode we explore how it works, why it happens, and how you can overcome it.

    GET YOU ARE NOT SO SMART: DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSIllustration by Corie Howell

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    Notable Replies

    1. SamSam says:

      What is the woman supposed to be eating in that picture? Some kind of mollusk?

      That seems to be a poor habit to try and break. Mollusks are great.

    2. I'm seeing some sort of unhappy alien..

      I assume that he is unhappy because the top of his head has been removed to allow access to his brains (which I have heard are quite similar to Turkish Delight).

    3. Muffins, I think. Possibly cupcakes. I'm kind of surprised the model isn't juggling a cigarette in that hand as well.

    4. Her bad habit is to break into strangers' homes to eat Rocky Mountain oysters and chug all their Worcestershire sauce.

    5. I would have been damning you if I saw this earlier, but I will be walking into a Cuban bakery in 30 seconds, so...

    Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

    13 more replies

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