If you did not tap out reading the title here is what today’s article is about:
Change is necessary for growth. Agree?
Change is challenging and makes life fun. Right?
Change is always easy and straightforward. True?
Well, not always. But today’s article is about how we can make change be more flawless, easy and enjoyable (plus effective and long-term as well as a byproduct).
Remember REPOH for later:
- Through Repetition an act becomes Easy, making it Pleasurable to do it which leads to you doing it Often which leads to it becoming a HABIT.
What I noticed is that my brain is very much addicted to it’s habits.
To the point that it sometimes outright rejects new behaviours and concepts even
if I’m convinced with all my heart that I want to adopt them. Even if people who are succeeding with the things I want to be successful with are exhibiting exactly these behaviours right in front of my nose. Even if it’s really really obvious. Many a time I have found myself reverting back to old behaviour, although I was trying my best to establish a new one.
So on to my practical theory on change:
You set a goal and decide on a certain outcome. Your expectations of yourself change, your standards for yourself change. You make a plan which involves a behavioural change. You take action. It goes well for some time -> there is progress. Then, inevitaboly, setbacks happen. fluctuations in progress. Your brain tries to revert back to old behaviour.
The reason why this happens is because until a certain point is reached the old behaviour is a stronger habit than the new one. It’s still more in alignment with your (old) identity, feels more like “you” for your brain. This induces your brain to exhibit this behaviour. Understand that it’s your active conditioning!
So now you really only have two options:
Option 1: You get really frustrated.
You feel like failing. You don’t understand why this change is not working out for you. You get distracted, your focus is fractionated. Your physiology is negative. You feel uncomfortable. STOP!
Every single one of these behaviours is taking you in the opposite direction of your desired behavioural change. Feeling uncomfortable and unsuccessful makes you brain look for good feelings and comfort – doing something your brain is good at and that it’s used to. Something that feels safe -> Your old behaviour.
At these points of fluctuation and apparent! setbacks in your progress it is absolutely essential that you get a hold on your emotional reactions by understanding why this is happening.
Then you can re-focus and concentrate your effort to keep reinforcing the new behaviour.
Let me insert a quote from Brian Johnson’s amazing Newsletter quoting Timothy Pychyl:
“This self-change process is uneven. We truly do feel like one day we leap ahead and the next day
we fall back. Although we have to be committed to change and firm in our efforts to be strategic, we also have to be kind to ourselves during this challenging process. We all face setbacks, disappointing moments, and frustrations with our apparent lack of progress. Your attitude toward these setbacks and yourself will be extremely important to your continued progress. Be kind but firm with yourself, and be willing to forgive yourself when you do not live up to your own expectations. One of our recent studies was about this issue of self-forgiveness and procrastination. It has important implications for each of us as we take the self-change journey. What we found was that self-forgiveness for procrastination was related to less procrastination in the future.”
—Timothy A. Pychyl from Solving the Procrastination Puzzle
This brings me to
Option 2: Forgiving yourself and moving on
This enables your brain to learn the new behaviour. The more you now keep doing the new behaviour and keep rewarding yourself for every little step while reframing the setbacks and quickly forgiving yourself, because you now understand why it happened and why it will probably happen again in the future, as these fluctuations are part of the process of change and you now know how to deal with them – the quicker your new habit will feel comfortable and good to your brain which means it will automatically induce you to exhibit this desired behaviour on autopilot before you realize it has happened. Your job is to keep repeating and rewarding and to be patient and forgiving and relentless in your focus and to be totally clear and very specific with your reasons for the desired behavioural change (your why’s) to keep you going with ample motivation while you keep rewarding yourself for every step in the desired direction along the way.
Then you, from time to time, take a step back, look at what you have already accomplished and smile and pat yourself on the back. Then you step back into the arena and keep
going, reinforcing and learning and before you know it your new default behaviour will be the one you had planned to implement.
- Know your why’s
- Have a clear plan for execution
- Be good to yourself
- Keep a steady and clear focus and re-focus again and again and again
- Make a proper effort
- Reward yourself
You are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.