Having a list of reasons on why you want to quit something, serves the same purpose and is just as powerful as having a list of reason why you want to start something.
And when you get the urge to indulge in a behavior, when you are in that moment of temptation, pulling out that list and looking at those reasons, can interrupt that pattern, and change your state of mind in that moment.
It is not always going to be easy. But it can help.
I will give you an example.
I am a Personal Trainer.
And I have a lot of clients who want to quit eating junk food, eating cake, eating McDonald's, eating pizza, quit smoking, quit drinking, etc.
And from my experience, I know that when they are in that moment of temptation, when they are standing in line at McDonald's, and they pull out that list, and see something like, "I don't want to feel fat anymore" or "I don't want to ashamed when I take my shirt off at the beach" that can be very powerful.
And most times they will change their mind and leave McDonald's without buying anything. And yes sometimes they will cave in and indulge.
And if you take a moment to think about it. This is like GTD in that when you want to do something, or even quit something you will have a list of reasons in your head. Writing that list down just clarifies them and makes it easy for you to reflect on them.
As someone who has studied Psychology, NLP, and Personal Change, I can tell you that to say you should only focus on good habits is wrong and doesn't fit the real world.I strongly disagree. Both methods focus on bad habit which is a bad habit. You should focus on good habits.
Yes, with a lot of people you do want them to focus on good habits and the pleasure that will bring.
But there are also alot of people who are not motivated by the postive but by pain. And those people you need to get them to focus on the bad habits and what it will cost them if they don't change to get them to move and take action.
I can guarantee you that if you were to talk to David Allen about why people are learning GTD, alot of them will be focused on the good habits it creates, but alot of them will be focused on the bad habits, like procrastination, disorganization, having no control. and it is these things, the bad habits that drove them to find GTD and to start applying it.
Well that is probably because I did a poor job of explaining it. If you go into Itunes and read their description I am sure they can put it better than I can.And in this "smoking" example it seems that the person trying to stop smoking periodically rewards herself/himself with a day of smoking. Very counterintuitive.