Why are we so good at being bad?


First let’s define “being good”.

“Being good” is making good choices that align with our best intentions. It’s being in integrity with our highest self — the one that knows what’s best for us.

But more often than not, the “devil on our shoulder” wins.

You’re determined to reduce your sugar intake, but someone offers you fresh baked cookies and you can’t resist.

You’re serious about getting up early, but when the alarm goes off, the pull of your warm, cozy bed is just too much to overcome.

You want to “unplug” from your devices early so you can get to bed at a reasonable hour, but you decide to just quickly check Instagram and 30 minutes passes by…

The list goes on…

Why do we continuously self-sabotage ourselves? Why are we so BAD at being GOOD?

Let me preface this by saying that there’s nothing inherently wrong with YOU. EVERYONE does this. We’re just doing “good” wrong.

Having a good intention, a desire or a hope is simply not enough to combat the incredibly strong and overwhelming desire to feel good in the moment. It’s been scientifically proven that humans are hardwired for instant gratification.

The only way we stand a chance of conquering our inner rebel is to make good choices our default pattern. We need a strategy to steer us towards what we ultimately want — to live with a deeper level of integrity.

The facts:

Willpower doesn’t work. Our environment is stronger than our self-control.

We are extremely influenced by the behaviors of the people in our social circle.

Most of us are really bad at holding ourselves accountable. We break promises to ourselves ALL THE TIME.

We usually plan for best case scenario and are blind-sighted when obstacles arise.

Our “all or nothing” mentality usually means nothing.

For example, if we’re trying to clean up our diet, removing the food we no longer want to eat and making healthy food readily available makes it easier to make the right choices.

If we want to stop smoking, we need to stop hanging out with our smoker friends.

If we want to start exercising, we need to sign up for a class in advance or get a workout buddy to hold ourselves accountable.

If we want to stop spending so much time on screens, we need to set up app blockers on our devices, remove them from sight and plan a different activity.

And no matter what changes we want to make, we need to realize that change happens slowly over time. We don’t need to overhaul our lives in a single day. Instead, we can embrace small steps that will compound over time and add up to life-changing results.

The key takeaway here is that if you’re serious about becoming the best version of yourself, and living as your best self every single day — you need to be strategic. You need to:

  • Set up your external environment to make the choices you want to make inevitable

  • Surround yourself with people who are making the same changes or have already achieved what you want

  • Set up a personal and external accountability system

  • Think of possible obstacles that might arise and devise a plan around them.

  • Aim for small, doable action steps and be consistent with them

Your turn. What’s one thing you’re looking to change in your life?

Does your outer environment make it easy?

Do your friends do it already?

Do you have a way of holding yourself accountable?

Do you have a plan for when things don’t go as planned?

Are you working on small, incremental changes and are you being consistent with those changes?

If not, good luck. It’s way too easy to give into the pull of our past patterning.

But change IS possible with the right measures in place.

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Dana SkoglundComment