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AndekN comments on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity - Less Wrong

121 Post author: RomeoStevens 28 February 2014 06:28AM

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Comment author: AndekN 01 March 2014 09:59:00PM *  4 points [-]

Let’s use flossing as an example. Trying to remember to floss after I brushed didn’t work. At all. 

I had the same experience for years. Every six months or so I would read an article like this one reminding how important it is to floss, visit a dentist or something similar. Then I promised to myself that from now on, I'd floss daily. And then I'd forget to actually do it.

After reading The Power of Habit (the book Kaj Sotala summarised in his article linked above) I realised that just trying to remember would never work. Instead, I needed to create a cue. I did this by placing the floss in front of my facial cleanser. Then, every evening when I reached for the cleanser (this already was a habit for me), my hand would hit the floss. That reminded me to floss and only after flossing I would clean my face. And it worked. I don't have to think about flossing anymore: after a month it had become a habit and now, after six months or so it's starting to feel weird that there was a time I didn't floss every day.