12/02/2014 01:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Hidden Cause of Bad Habits


Do you have any habits you'd like to change? Would you like to stop procrastinating, overeating, overspending, smoking, or wasting time on meaningless stuff?

Picture a balance, like the "Scales of Justice" you've seen in those courtroom TV shows. It's an instrument for determining relative weight that has a fulcrum at the center, with a plate on either side.

On one side, imagine Your Why-To's. These are your internal motives or Reasons Why to do something. On the other side, imagine Your Why-Not-To's – your internal Reasons Why Not to do something.

Let me give you an example from your own life. Why did you buy the last personal growth program you bought? The answer is: because you perceived that there were more Benefits or Why-To's than Why-Not-To's or Cost of doing so.

Your Why-To's of buying personal growth programs might include:

  • I want to learn the habits of the world's most successful people...
  • So I can make more money and create the lifestyle I've always wanted...
  • And have more free time
  • Better relationships
  • Lose weight
  • Buy a new car
  • Get out of debt
  • Did I mention I'll finally create the lifestyle I really want?

What about your Why-Not-To's? While it may not be obvious at first, your perceived Why-Not-To's might include:

  • I have a million other things I could be doing right now.
  • What if it works for everyone else, but not for me?
  • What if it's too hard and I can't do it?
  • Did I mention all the other things I could be doing right now?

Your mind is like an infinite weighing machine — every moment, your mind is weighing your perceived Benefit against your perceived Cost of doing any behavior, habit or activity you can think of.

Can you see that every decision you make, every habit you form, is fundamentally built upon your perceived Why-To's and Why-Not-To's?

These habits include:

  • The clothes you put on this morning on your way to work
  • The food you ate for breakfast this morning (if you at breakfast)
  • How fast or slow you drive on your way to work, and the route you take every day
  • How many snacks you'll eat today and exactly WHAT you eat
  • Whether you procrastinate on your job or not
  • Whether you smoke or not
  • Whether you find it hard to finish projects or easy to finish them
  • Whether you are easily distracted at work or have no trouble concentrating

All of these daily habits originated with your Why-To's and Why-Not-To's.

In fact, every decision you've ever made was originally formed by your internal Why-To's and Why-Not-To's: the reasons why you thought you SHOULD do the thing vs. the reasons you thought you SHOULDN'T do that thing.

Take Action Challenge:

Understand your Why-To's and Why-Not-To's — because it's the first step to understanding your habits.

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2013-12-16-1NoahStJohn.jpgNoah St. John is famous for inventing Afformations and helping busy entrepreneurs to accelerate income, boost self-confidence, and make success automatic.

His sought-after advice has been called the "secret sauce" for creating breakthrough performance.

Get Noah's new video training series How to Boost Income and Self-Confidence Using Power Habits ® FREE at .

Inventor of Afformations; founder of Power Habits®