You could have a little bit of success. OR A LOT.

Big change, big reward.   Image:  Leeuw en leeuwin, Bernard Willem Wierink, 1917 , Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

Big change, big reward.

Image: Leeuw en leeuwin, Bernard Willem Wierink, 1917, Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

First thing: This is the LAST CALL in 2019 for Body of Knowledge Weekly. (It's open through midnight Pacific tonight, Tuesday the 29th. Next time it's open for new folks will be Spring 2020, so if it sure seems like you could get where you want to go faster with a support, guidance and expertise, JOIN ME. All the details are here.

Now then! Let's talk about brains. As I have disclosed before I am not a neuroscientist. I have a great degree! A great liberal arts education! But my degree is in English so I give you my English-major layperson understanding of the neuroscience which boils down to this:

If you want to change a behavior that's very rewarding, say like eating a pint of ice cream before bed every night (pretty common behavior!), you would do well to find a behavior that's even more rewarding. Because we do what works. We do what rewards us.

If we try to change something, and we succeed, that is in itself rewarding. Success is pleasing, feels good, gold stars are pasted in the brain, and we remember how rewarding this behavior is. We want to do it again! That's how habits work. That's why nothing succeeds like success.

And big success is bigly rewarding.

So you can make changes incrementally, with baby steps, and sometimes that's the only way to get started. But if you want to change something fast, and permanently, you might have more success with a big change.

Big change -> big success -> big reward = compelling reason to keep going.

Example: you can chip away slowly at an ice cream after dinner every night habit. You can substitute Halo for gelato. You can shave off a little bit of ice cream every night. You can substitute with some other kind of food. You can go half-and-half, and titer your ratios until you're just eating apple slices and losing interest.

And it’s going to be very slow. Results will take a long time to make themselves known. The truth is that very slow change is not all that rewarding.

Or you can go cold turkey. You could, if you want, quit eating ice cream, just like that. (I have more than one client who has done it.)

What do you think happens if you stop eating a pint of ice cream every single night? It’s not a mystery. You sleep better, your dentist high-fives you, you save a bunch of money, and you lose a ton of weight.

That’s a big change. A big success. And a big reward.

Nothing wrong with baby stops if that’s what you need. Like, NOTHING wrong. It's often a GOOD strategy.

But if you haven’t experimented lately with really big changes, you could give that a try. See what happens.

Max DanielsComment