addiction http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/857/all en-US 4 Things Most People Don't Realize Are Holding Them Back http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/teenager-distracted-tv-99234771-small.jpg" alt="teenager distracted tv" title="teenager distracted tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The fact of the matter is that sometimes there are obstacles working against us that we're simply unaware of. Rather than beat yourself up, it's time to start looking at how various aspects of your life might be thwarting your goals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-youre-not-reaching-your-goals-and-how-to-change-that?ref=seealso">10 Reasons You Aren't Reaching Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>Here are four common obstacles, and how to fix them.</p> <h2>1. Your Environment</h2> <p>Raise your hand if you ever argued with your parents about studying or doing homework in front of the television.</p> <p>The bad news is that Mom and Dad were right. Studies show that having the television on while studying &mdash; even as background noise &mdash; <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/guest-bloggers/data-shows-kids-shouldnt-multi.html">leads to lower-quality work</a>. (The better news is that the studies are inconclusive about the distracting nature of music &mdash; so keep your favorite tunes going in the background if you feel like it helps.)</p> <p>Whether you are surrounded by distracting noise, distracting clutter, or distracting comfort (imagine trying to write an essay in your pajamas on your bed), you might find yourself wasting the day away if your environment is not outfitted for your optimal productivity.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>Work spaces &mdash; from home offices to cube farms &mdash; tend to be set up either how you think they should look, or according to someone else's vision. We often end up forcing ourselves to work in a space that doesn't work for us.</p> <p>In order to optimize your space, take into account your &quot;desire path.&quot; This term, named for the footpaths created as shortcuts when pedestrians repeatedly ignore paved paths, describes how you <em>actually use</em> your space, rather than how you are <em>supposed to use</em> it.</p> <p>For instance, if you set up a very organized office but generally end up doing your work on the kitchen table, take the time to figure out what it is about your desire path that causes you to forgo the office. Following your desire path can help you to determine what you need in order to do your best work.</p> <h2>2. Your Language</h2> <p>A recent UCLA study discovered that differences in <a href="http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/keith.chen/papers/LanguageWorkingPaper.pdf">how languages refer to events</a> in the future can affect our behavior.</p> <p>For instance, English has a very distinct future tense. If we want to talk about tomorrow's weather, we say, &quot;It will rain tomorrow.&quot; In languages with a less distinct future tense (like German, for example), speakers say, &quot;It rains tomorrow.&quot; That difference means that English speakers' brains encode the future as a distinct time from now, while German speakers do not.</p> <p>Where this gets interesting is in the fact that speakers of languages with less distinction between the present and the future &quot;save more, retire with more wealth, smoke less, practice safer sex, and are less obese.&quot;</p> <p>That means we English speakers are at a distinct disadvantage. We already tend to see the future as somebody else's problem because of a cognitive bias known as <a href="http://moneyning.com/money-beliefs/how-hyperbolic-discounting-in-behavioral-economics-explains-your-irrational-money-choices/">hyperbolic discounting</a>. Add in a language that codifies the difference between the present and future, and we are very likely to continue to push today's consequences onto our future selves.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/W-Cz-LK16g4">Jerry Seinfeld has a very funny take</a> on this particular problem. He talks about how when he's Night Guy, he simply doesn't care that Morning Guy has to get up early to go to work.</p> <p>In that humorous observation lies a solution to the problem of English's future tense. Start thinking about what your Morning Guy would most like to wake up to. That might mean you do the dishes tonight, or that you pay yourself first, or that you choose the apple slices rather than the donuts. If you take the time to think about what you will want and how you will feel in the future, it's much easier to act in accordance to that now.</p> <h2>3. Your Smartphone</h2> <p>How long can you go without checking your smartphone for updates? According to a Mobile Mindset study conducted by the security app company Lookout, <a href="https://www.lookout.com/resources/reports/mobile-mindset">60% of respondents check their phone at least once an hour</a>.</p> <p>This kind of addictive behavior is problematic, since it can get in the way of your productivity.</p> <p>And addictive is the operative word. Technology offers us <a href="http://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/IntermittentReinforcement.html">intermittent reinforcement</a>: We cannot predict how often we will get an interesting comment, a like, an email, a tweet, or other technological interaction, which makes us crave those interactions even more. Intermittent reinforcement is the reason why gambling is addictive, and it is why smartphones are so tough to quit.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>It's possible to lose days at a time to noodling away on your phone, so cut off the intermittent reinforcement. First, turn off your notifications. Every time your phone pings to let you know something interesting has happened, you get another little reinforcement. The news will wait, so let it.</p> <p>In addition, you will need to plan ahead when and for how long you will use your phone. When you do play on your phone, set a timer and keep to it. If you train yourself to only use your phone at set times, that habit will replace the check-all-the-time habit you currently have.</p> <h2>4. Your Sleep Schedule</h2> <p>No matter how good your intentions are in the evening, it can seem impossible to get up with the alarm when it goes off at Zero Dark-Thirty. You hit the snooze button two or seven times, stumble out of bed in search of coffee, and barely make it to work on time. You'd love to take advantage of all of the benefits of being an early riser &mdash; like time to exercise and plan your day &mdash; but even when you go to bed earlier, you simply cannot get yourself out of bed early.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>Part of the reason why it is so difficult to retrain your body to accept early wake-up times has to do with our biology. If you simply go to bed eight hours before you need to be up (which is often how switching to an earlier wake-up time goes), you might find yourself staring at the ceiling, completely awake, until your normal bedtime. You are not listening to your body's sleepiness cues in the evening, which is both frustrating and unproductive.</p> <p>It's for this reason that the <a href="http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/05/how-to-become-an-early-riser/">best strategy for changing your sleep pattern</a> combines biology with a schedule. Instead of simply making your bedtime earlier, wait to go to bed until you are sleepy enough to drift off quickly. (A good sleepiness test is if you can't read more than a page or two of a book without drifting off.)</p> <p>Doing this will mean that you go to bed when you are sleepy and get up at a fixed time. Although you might be dragging the first few days, you'll quickly find that your sleep patterns will realign so that you will feel sleepy at the optimal time for a good night's sleep before your alarm the next morning.</p> <h2>Be the Master of Your Fate</h2> <p>The obstacles to your best self may be physical, cultural, biological, or technological. But you ultimately have control over your life. The best way to take that control is to listen to your own desires and needs while planning ahead. This one-two punch should be enough to tame all those obstacles trying thwart you.</p> <p><em>What's working against you? How will you fix it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you">13 &quot;Bad&quot; Habits That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development addiction bad habits distraction environment habits obstacles Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1207020 at http://www.wisebread.com Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game? http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Wow.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><hints id="hah_hints">During the Christmas break my husband and I went to dinner with some of his friends from high school.&nbsp; One couple we spoke with told us that they are trying to save money for a down payment on a home and one thing they did was that&nbsp; they canceled their subscription to a massively multiplayer online role playing game called&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&amp;keywords=world%20of%20warcraft&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;index=videogames&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325">World of Warcraft</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=stuffies-20&amp;l=ur2&amp;o=1" alt="" style="border: medium none ! important; margin: 0px ! important;" />. My husband then&nbsp; responded that he actually saved money when he was playing World of Warcraft, and here are the reasons why.</hints></p> <p><b>1.&nbsp; He did not buy other games</b> - Since World of Warcraft was so addictive, that was the only game he played.&nbsp;&nbsp; Each month he spent less than $15 on gaming and that was the end of it.&nbsp; Considering that each new game costs $50 to $60 and he could finish a game in a week or two, World of Warcraft was a lot cheaper.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2. He did not need any other forms of entertainment </b>-&nbsp; This means no DVDs, books, or anything else.&nbsp; He was focused on one game only.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>3. He did not go outside often </b>- World of Warcraft and other games like it&nbsp; has a good amount of&nbsp; social play within the game where groups of people get together to fight monsters and other players.&nbsp; So for some people their entire social circle is in the game.&nbsp; This means there is no need to spend money on social gatherings.</p> <p><b>4. The subscription fee made him play more</b> -&nbsp; Since he was paying a monthly fee whether he played or not, he felt compelled to put in more hours to get more value out of his money.&nbsp; This simply created a feedback loop of addiction that made him play the game more and do less of other things. </p> <p>It is no wonder that in some circles World of Warcraft is known as Warcrack.&nbsp; Anyway, my husband quit the game shortly before we started dating so I&nbsp; do not know how he was like in the height of his addiction.&nbsp; He says that he quit because he wanted to play all the other games out there, and I am thankful for that.&nbsp; I definitely do not recommend acquiring an addiction or obsession to save money, but I am wondering if anyone else have had a similar experience.&nbsp; Could a subscription based entertainment service be so attractive and sticky that you save money on everything else?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-keeping-you-from-a-life-of-financial-independence">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big">How to save BIG</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Lifestyle addiction Art and Leisure games gaming saving Fri, 16 Jan 2009 07:00:56 +0000 Xin Lu 2748 at http://www.wisebread.com Switching Addictions http://www.wisebread.com/switching-addictions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/switching-addictions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000061360910_Large.jpg" alt="man running sunrise" title="man running sunrise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hi, my name is Andrea, and I read <a href="http://www.runnersworld.com/" target="_blank">Runner's World</a> magazine.</p> <p>[Hi, Andrea].</p> <p>I started reading it a couple of years ago. At first, it was just a glance or two when I was at Barnes and Noble trying to pass a cold, rainy Sunday. Then I started looking at it more carefully, actually reading the articles and analyzing the nutrition charts. After that, I maybe tried a few of the lunges and ab crunches. Finally, I bought and issue and took it home. I was hooked. I even started subscribing, and I read it religiously for two years.</p> <p>What I love about Runner's World are the inspirational stories and columns that seem to come standard with every issue. And these are my guilty pleasures; pleasures, because I feel inspired by the stories of the struggles and victories of people who have faced much harder circumstances than I have, and guilty because despite the inspiration, I never quite seem to get myself in gear.</p> <h2>The Shame! The Joy!</h2> <p>Because I'm not a runner, I hide my issues of Runner's World from everyone save a few people who already know me well enough not to laugh. It's sort of my Chicken Soup for the Lazy-Ass Soul.</p> <p>It was the Warmup article in the March 2007 issue of Runner's World that really made me think. &quot;Home Run&quot; introduces us to Brent Ion, a marathoner who is also a part of a homeless advocacy group in Palm Beach County, Florida. Brent started a running group for the homeless citizens of Palm Beach County, hoping to reach people with drug addictions and teach them about how structure and discipline can lead to accomplishments and self-confidence.</p> <p>Homeless people who have joined Ion's group, known as the HomeTeam, have found that running and marathon training has helped them overcome their addictions to drugs and alcohol. Even though many of them admit that they only joined because each HomeTeam member gets a free pair of sneakers, these people have overcome meth, cocaine, and alcohol addictions as a part of their training and friendship.</p> <h2>Switching Addictions</h2> <p>Something that isn't mentioned in the article, however, is the idea of switching addictions. There is such a thing as a positive addiction. I know this, because once in my life, for a very limited time, I was addicted to running.</p> <p>When I say that it was for a limited time, I mean really limited. When I got addicted to running, I was in high school. I started running around the inside of my school after class was out. A lot of sports teams did this when the snow got too deep outside, and I sort of went at my own pace and pondered the meaning of high school life. It wasn't too bad &mdash; I found that if my mind wandered to other things, I could run a mile without feeling it.</p> <p>After a few weeks, I was feeling pretty good. And then one day in gym class during our jogging warm-up, I experienced a runner's high. It felt GREAT. I had never had one before, and it was so exhilarating. Even though we were supposed to be lifting weights that day, my P.E. teacher allowed me to just run laps around the gym for the whole hour. The strange thing was that I didn't want to do anything BUT run, and the elation that I felt when running stayed with me for a long time.</p> <p>About a week later, my appendix burst, and that pretty much put an end to my running career. It took me a long, long time to be able to climb the stairs again without seeing spots, and I never really started running again.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Such Thing as a &quot;Good&quot; Addiction?</h2> <p>But back to the addicts in Runner's World. Brent Ion, the guy who headed up the group, started running in 1998 to help him kick his addiction to nicotine. From what I can tell, it seems that Brent traded one habit for another - he took up a positive addiction in lieu of a negative one. And all of his recruits seem to be doing the same thing.</p> <p>Running as an addiction isn't a new idea.&nbsp;Other people have managed to form different positive addictions. Many smokers find that their nervous fidgeting can be calmed by crafty undertakings.</p> <p>Of course, calling yourself a &quot;running addict&quot; can be construed as annoyingly cutesy, or a sign that someone has an exercise addiction. If someone can't stop running, then that's not a good thing either, but my guess is that exercise addiction is more rare than, say, alcoholism. And it's probably not a stretch to say that people who replace a bad addiction with a good one, like running or knitting or whatever, probably have the need to keep participating in their good addiction, less they feel the pull of the old, bad addictions too strongly.</p> <h2>Moo-lah</h2> <p>Thus, addicts have an impetus for remaining active, or crafty. The best part, from my standpoint, is the money saved.</p> <p>The best part about a positive addiction (or a replacement habit, or whatever you want to call it) is that the replacement habits are usually inexpensive. Unless you go from, say, cocaine addiction to model train obsession, then you're probably saving a bundle.</p> <p>The cost of smoking varies depending on how much you smoke, but a conservative estimate of the yearly cost in cigarettes alone is upwards of $1,700 a year. And that's among the cheaper addictions, really. Alcoholism is an even more expensive addiction to suffer from, even before counting the cost of healthcare associated with treating the disease.</p> <p>Running, juggling, knitting, bird watching, obsessive Scrabble playing; these habits are virtually free after initial investment of maybe $100 or so (knitters: stay away from the alpaca yarns &mdash; that's where they getcha).</p> <p>I don't have any truly health-threatening addictions, unless you count caffeine and sloth, so I'm hoping to replace sloth with running. I went for my first run last night. Maybe &quot;run&quot; is a bit of a stretch. I went for my first &quot;jog for a block, walk and gasp for a block,&quot; but I'm hoping to turn it into an addiction if I can.&nbsp;</p> <p>I should mention that I obviously don't advocate that people with very serious drug addictions merely get up and start running all over the place. Even more common addictions, such a nicotine, can be helped immensely through medication and medical intervention. And they always say that you should start an exercise program only after consulting your doctor, so consult away.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switching-addictions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ready-to-buy-some-exercise-equipment-read-this-first">Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">How to Run Your First 5K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-getting-the-best-morning-workout">7 Tips for Getting the Best Morning Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">Exercising in a Winter Wonderland: How to Be Fit and Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty addiction alcoholism drug abuse exercise jogging juggling lazy nicotine quit smoking race Runner's World running sloth training Tue, 06 Feb 2007 18:28:56 +0000 Andrea Karim 252 at http://www.wisebread.com