People want a way of easing into better habits –> results with less pain.
We want to be healthier but don’t want to give up our ice cream and pizza diets.
We want to make more money but don’t want to give up Seinfeld and Family Guy reruns.
In situations like these were A doesn’t necessarily precludes us from B but merely has a negative correlation, what about simply embracing something with a positive correlation with B and leaving A alone?
In example one, we could continue eating ice cream and pizza with no regrets but simply add red beets, yellow squash, cauliflower, and kidney beans (none of which we currently get) to our diet.
In example two, we could continue watching our reruns but add a productive money-making measure, say mowing three lawns a week, to our schedule.
The Easing is There
We hate to give up stuff. We want our pizza. We want our Seinfeld. And we don’t want any one to tamper with it – even if we agree they’re negative or at best neutral elements in our lives.
Adding in something beneficial doesn’t necessarily preclude us from either so there is less pain; there is no loss of that which we’re attached to and thus we really can’t complain.
However, what can happen with the introduction of positive elements is a subtle displacement of negative ones.
For example, if I eat 4 servings of vegetables each day whereas before I ate none, maybe some of the pizza is unnecessary and I eat less. (Even if I don’t eat less, I’ll at least be more healthy by way of the additional, essential nutrients.)
As for Seinfeld, perhaps with the 5 hours I now spend every week mowing, maybe I reduce my Seinfeld by 2 hours to make the time. Or maybe I don’t but at least I still have the $80 from yard mowing.
It’s an inherently advantageous shift, albeit slightly subtle and one that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit.
The more positive elements you add, the more negative elements lose their space and/or comfort zone in your life. And if we don’t force our fragile minds to acknowledge the pain or loss, then my theory is we are better equipped to ease into a positive transition.
It’s a lot easier to think, “I just need to add X” vs. “I have to give up Y” but that type of mindset can pave the way to the displacement of negative things and a turning of momentum.