Muscle Memory – how playing Rock Band on XBox gave me new tactics for breaking bad habits

But here’s the good news: it turns out that recent research on habits and behavior has shown this kind of disruption of our environment is an important part of making changes to any habit, especially the bad ones, and that’s something we can learn to use to our advantage.


But as I tried to play along to the song the way I expected, I found myself missing the targets going by because they were not coming up when or where I expected. The colors on the screen didn’t seem to match the drum patterns I would have been playing if they were actual drums, and I lost track of the beat. And then I forgot which color corresponded to which pad. It was frustrating.

But I wasn’t supposed to be playing the drums; I was playing a video game. I had to stop thinking of these plastic pads as a drum kit and only think of them as colors if I was going to play successfully. The game was forcing me to rewire my brain, to let go of the instinctual patterns that had been so ingrained in me, and play these drums “the Rock Band way” instead.

Great post by Dave, as always.

Some other stories from Heated Bits you might want to read: