How to trade in a bad habit for a good one!

Why aren’t you using the triggers that make you fall into a bad habit, to start a good habit, instead? Have fruit instead of coffee. An apple instead of a smoke.

Your brain is a super automator. Decisions you often make, become automatic. Let’s call them habits.

Some times when you believe you are still in power of making a decision, your brain is already in auto-mode though. Sneaky, eh? A trigger got you to perform a habit. You don’t have to think about it – that’s what makes it a habit, right? Buckling your seatbelt when you get in the car, etc. So I guess we can all agree on:

We are what we repeatedly to and therefore creatures of habit!

If you dont believe me, you should read The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg and Willpower, by Roy F. Baumeister & John TierneyThese books helped me understand habits and their creation better.

Experimenting with my own habits with rehabit.me has been fun so far. Great lessons learned with the first users and now we are tweaking it to produce higher habit changing success rates with our findings. If you have some habits you want to trade in too, feel free to sign on to our early invite list at rehabit.me!

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How to live without cable TV

Image representing Boxee as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

After years without a TV in Vienna, we ended up receiving one as a gift after moving to Toronto. Since we did not really miss a TV, it stayed in its box for a while. What made us not miss a TV at all? Our entertainment / information consumption habits had completely changed!

  • It started at University in England: Besides high TV licence fees, we did not even think about getting a shared TV for our flat, as there was just so much else to do on campus for entertainment. The news we collected online anyway already. For movies and shows there was already the itunes store.
  • Back in Austria, moving in with Jane, I brought my old TV to our apartment (just because I considered it part of my furniture) and removed it again after a week.
  • We still watched TV shows and movies on itunes every now and then. But owning a physical TV device with a cable / satellite connection did no add any value for us, as the “live” factor did not matter to us (we dont watch sports).
  • It made us go outside and meet people, read books, etc, as there wasn’t the convenience of just pressing a button and sit on the couch any longer.
Boxee Box and Remote
Boxee Box and Remote (Photo credit: William Hook)

So here we are, having a huge TV, we got as a gift. We needed to work something out. Looking into streaming solutions, as we hate the TV cable companies here, brought us to boxee.tv about a year ago. And we are happy with it, we hardly see any ads, watch tv shows and movies whenever we want and got access to lots of alternative / independent libraries. First we were scared that his convenience will get us to watch more TV again, but we were wrong. We still can’t just go to a channel and let it flow. And I think that is what makes us watch less TV. What are your thoughts?

If you are planning to get a boxee.tv, make sure you have a real unlimited internet plan. Also they have a stick now that will give you live TV in case you want it (just a few channels). I like about the boxee that they are improving it constantly, the user interface improved very much in the last year and I am sure that buying a boxee was a good investment. Let me know if you have questions about available content in Toronto.

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rehabit.me helps you get back in control of your habits!

rehabit.me is a web app that helps young adults & professionals seeking new lifestyle habits, stay committed to goals through short-term challenges.

We combine peer pressure with accountability via self tracking, plus the added ass kicking from friends who bet against the player by pledging money to charity in exchange for the possibility of seeing embarrassing consequences.

Kick habits that make you fat and broke by trading them in for healthy and promising habits.

rehabit.me makes sure that when you say you’re going to do something, you really stick with it.

  • Choose Your Habit, Decide the Stakes & Collect Bets
  • Reminders, Proofs & Status Reports
  • Solving Stick-to-it-ness

Choose Your Habit, Decide the Stakes & Collect Bets

Turns out, all that’s needed is the risk of a good ass kicking from friends. We ask players to set up a habit they would like to adopt or drop for 21 days and then collect bets from friends. If successful, all bets go to charity but should the player fail, the kicker is, friends get to collect on whatever stakes were decided. Free car wash anyone?

Reminders, Proofs & Status Reports

To help you players reach their goal and save face, rehabit.me will send daily reminders, weekly status reports and make sure everyone knows that goals are being hit everyday via integrated self tracking apps, like Fitbit, Foursquare and RunKeeper along with photos and other options to prove achievements.

Solving Stick-to-it-ness

A rehabit.me goal is short-term (with a start and end date) so the player knows it’s not forever and will be way more motivated to dig deep and push limits. What’s more, by collecting bets form friends the player has also set up a support network with seriously vested interest in seeing whether they make it or not.