Are you trying to make huge changes in your life overnight and completely failing? Congratulations. It is now confirmed that you are in possession of a human brain. Don’t get too excited, though. This is definitely a good news – bad news type of situation.
The good news is that the human brain is hardwired with the capacity to alter its neural pathways, enacting lasting change to your behaviour and consequently, your thoughts and feelings. Our brains’ ability to physically alter itself is called neuroplasticity.
The bad news? Like everything else in life worth a damn, you’re going to have to work for it.
Unlike computers, we can’t load a program and alter our knowledge or behaviour instantly (yet). But you probably already knew that because the last time you tried to make sweeping changes to your lifestyle, it didn’t go so well.
Let’s see. Today is Thursday. I’ll treat myself to a lazy weekend with lots of ice cream, and on Monday I’ll start getting up early, eating healthy, and going to the gym.
The problem is that we’re not built to make big, sweeping changes. We’re built to make small, slow ones that stack up over time.
In a way, this is good news, too. You can let go of that breath you’ve been holding for the last decade or so and stop setting goals completely change your life overnight because science says you won’t reach them.
You should instead set an utterly achievable goal. For example, if you want to write more, you can challenge yourself to write something – anything – every day for two weeks. And as long as you sit down, put a pen to the paper and wrote a single sentence, you have hit your goal. You see, the initial purpose is not to achieve amazing results but to build a habit. And as far as establishing a habit goes, your brain can’t tell the difference between a complete short story and a few dozen words on a post-it note.
And the best part is that since your new habit is so ridiculously simple, you can start it today.
Or as I like to sum it up: Don’t make big changes tomorrow, make small changes today.
That’s so profound, it should have its own yoga sunset meme!
Okay, I made one.
You have my sincere apologies for that.
I’ll be talking more about building and maintaining habits in the future, but for now: What habit do you want to build?