Stop snacking all day long, reduce the time spent on Netflix, stop scrolling social medias as soon as you jump out of bed… Who doesn’t have “bad” habits that could be changed for the better ones?
But habits are hard to break! It’s not easy to get rid of behaviour that has been part of our daily lives for years…
The undo list is a tool that allows you to change your bad habits and replace them with ones that bring you more joy. One small step at a time.
What is an undo list?
When we think about our goals, and how to move towards more fulfilment and happiness, we will naturally try to answer the question: “what would I have to do to achieve this more fulfilled and happier life?
As a result, we end up with “to-do list”.
But more rarely do we ask ourselves, “What would I need to stop doing to achieve a more fulfilled and happier life?
Which is the question that brings the idea of the undo list: a list of things we want to stop doing, for many different reasons. It’s the list of habits you want to change, the list of patterns you keep repeating.
The purpose of creating an undo list is to identify the habits you have that are ingrained and that hold you back on your path to a more fulfilling life.
Habits have a very important power over our lives: they reflect the way we think, the relationship we have with ourselves and our environment. Creating positive habits can have a huge impact.
But it is often very difficult to get rid of our “bad habits”. The undo list, together with a few tips, helps you to identify the habits you want to get rid of, so that you can change them.
Like a to-do list, your undo list allows you to focus your efforts and take small steps towards your ideal life. You probably won’t make ALL changes at the same time, it would be too radical and the effort required would be enormous.
The objective of your undo list will be to guide you over several weeks, several months to change the habits that no longer suit you, one small step at a time.
How to create your undo list?
You can dedicate a page of your PROJO planner to your undo list.
On the first note space you find, make a list of the habits you want to lose or change by answering this question:
Which habit do I want to change in order to achieve a more fulfilled and happy life?
Write down all the ideas that come to mind. You won’t change all the habits on your undo list at once, but you will have a better idea of what you want to improve in your daily life in the weeks and months to come.
Creating an undo list on a PROJO planner weekly spread.
What to do with your undo list?
Okay, I have a list of habits I want to change… what should I do now?
Identify the positive and negative consequences of each habit.
The next step is to understand why you have developed this habit and why it persists. If it has taken hold, it’s because you’re getting something positive out of it, over and above its negative aspects.
For each of your habits on your undo list, ask yourself:
- Why do I want to change this habit? What are the negative consequences of this habit that I want to eliminate?
- Why do I keep this habit? What do I get out of this behaviour, what benefits does this habit bring me?
For example, I find that I watch too Netflix. This is a habit that I want to change.
- Why do I want to change this habit?
Because it makes me feel like I’m wasting my time on content that doesn’t bring me much. I feel like I’m not investing my time well. And too many hours in front of the screens give me migraines.
- What benefits do I get from this habit?
Watching TV shows allows me to “cut” my brain off from work. I can relax more easily, because it requires very little intellectual energy.
Why make this effort to analyze your habits and the reasons why they persist?
Because a habit doesn’t just fades. It must be replaced with an other one.
Imagining alternative habits
The next step to change your habits in depth is to imagine for each “bad” habit you want to lose an alternative that brings you similar benefits, without inconveniences.
Go back to each of the habits you want to change and imagine what you could do instead.
For example, instead of watching Netflix, I could listen to podcasts while cooking or doing some other manual activity.
That would allow me to relax too, while learning things.
For each one of the “bad” habits you want to break, find alternatives.
Humans tend to resist to change: once a habit is established, it is not easy to break it and replace it. It takes some effort, until you have developed new reflexes and your new habits have permanently taken the place of the old ones.
So here are a few tips to make the transition easier!
1. Take small steps
Start with small steps. There’s no point in trying to make a complete revolution in your habits overnight: it’s the best way to discourage yourself.
In the same way, don’t set yourself a goal of perfection right away. Establishing a new habit takes time. And in the early stages, you may find yourself returning to your old reflexes.
Make sure the goal you set for yourself is realistic.
For example, instead of checking my social networks as soon as I jump out of bed, I want to set up a super-simple wake-up routine. I know it’s not something I can do every day. For the first month, my goal is to do it 25 days / 31.
2. Change your environment
Will I check social networks when I wake up if I don’t have my phone handy? Probably not. Would I eat less chocolate if there wasn’t any in my closet? Probably.
Sometimes it just takes a few small changes in your environment to make it easier to change your habits.
3. Identify your triggers
What situations encourage you in your bad habits? Stress, fatigue and boredom can be triggers. For example, I know that in my brain, watching a show is associated with meals and food. So when I’m passive in front of a screen watching videos, I easily get cravings and cravings for sugar, even though I’d like to cut down on my intake. If I reduce the amount of time I spend in front of the screens, I eliminate some of the things that trigger these sweet cravings.
4. Track your progress
Keep track of the progress you are making day by day. You can use a habit tracking system in your planner for example. It allows you to quickly see the progress you’re making, and encourages you to go further in implementing your new habits!
Have you ever tried to create an undo list to break your “bad” habits?