When you quit a bad habit, you instantly have a void — a vacuum, a hole — in your life. Something will quickly fill the void whether you mean it to or not.
And that void must be filled.
The time and effort you spent on that activity has to go somewhere. And you need to take control over how you spend them. Otherwise you may end up quitting one bad habit only to start another.
How do you displace a bad habit with a good one?
By being intentional and proactive. (Be prepared to hear much more about those two words!)
If you’re quitting something, you will suddenly have time, effort, money, and other resources available. All of those need a place to go.
It’s just like your monthly financial budget. If you finish paying off your car loan, you will have several hundred dollars available for any purpose you want. A void to fill. But unless you give them a purpose and hold them to it, they will sneak into the “Restaurants” or “Entertainment” category like a ninja.
And suddenly that money’s gone, even though you really wanted to put it somewhere else.
If you were paying close attention to the last post, you already know where I’m going with this. The point is not so much to quit a bad habit as it is to displace it with a good one.
Since you are using displacement, you have already planned out how you will use your resources for your new activity, filling the void.
In the budget example, it might mean planning to use that car payment money (now ready to be used elsewhere) to pay off your smallest credit card debt.
Now that’s intentional.
By shoving the bad habit out of the way to make room for something else, you are much less likely to fall back into your old way. Think about it — you’re already filled the void and engaged yourself otherwise!
At that point, it is up to you to follow through on your plan.
Where do you want to be in five years? What do you need to do now to get there? What worse habit can that replace?