Scapegoating To Kill Bad Habits

While technology is catching up to our lives, time is nearly draining, contact list is building up and the “ME” time is becoming non-existent. All this strikes a sudden realization in us that we are caught in the vicious circle of bad habits.

Many of us also take New Year resolutions as an excuse to kick off our bad habits- mainly of not sleeping late, shedding those extra pounds, and so on. Enter the realm of “Scapegoating” which is a psychological hack to change a behavior. This phrase is not blaming others of your bad habits, in fact it’s about blaming these imaginary villains and then fighting them away.

Take for example, if you are driving faster than the normal speed with your favorite music blasting the radio, then music isn’t the villain here, it’s that instant ‘high’ you feel which makes you push on the speed paddle with more force. Similarly, when you are binge eating junk food while watching TV, then the villain isn’t food but some anxious feeling which is making you do that. A study of Cigarette smokers published in 2014 found out that those who believed that they are powerless to resist this bad habit, actually failed to fight it at all. Also, another study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in 2015 also found out that the individuals who believed they are addicted to this habit, are the ones who failed to actually fight off this habit. The reason is that we have already surrendered and raised both are hands up in defeat when we should have actually believed in ourselves and tried to battle it. In an article in Harvard Business Review, it’s been said that the next challenge is when you have to infuse a change of habit other than the usual, which makes you see things in a different light. And if you feel it’s hard to change or fight against a bad habit, then you should take refugee in scapegoating. To successfully overcome a bad habit, first make it your enemy and channel all your energies in fighting off that enemy.



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