Say yay!

We should be happy every time we manage to act according to plans. Every time? Yes, Every time! Our brains are wired in a way that makes it easy for old patterns to prevail. Yet when we are learning, we are trying to do something new. There seem to be two ways we can learn new things. We can either learn a new circuitry or we adapt an old circuitry (Purves). The older we grow the more we will adapt instead of learning a new circuitry. It means we have to overwrite old behaviors. Old behaviors are there because they have been useful to us many many times. That is why it is hard to try something new. Celebrate small wins has two effects. When you celebrate your little victory over yourself (you overcame your brain) two important effects seem to set in (Fogg). These is one reason why I am a bit cautious about telling this. I really love the ideas by BJ Fogg and I recommend everyone to try his 3 tiny habits program, yet I can’t find any research about the effect on the brain, or any serious scientific studies. Anyways, here we go. 1. Your brain will change (easier) when you feel good about what you did. It will want to do the behavior again in the future. 2. The brains don’t seem to be very good at recognizing the difference between small and big successes. So celebrate (small) good times The feeling of success will influence other parts of your life (Fogg). Taking a piece of fruit with you can have a big impact on your day, but only if you recognize that act as a success. I had some trouble at first to...

Changing is not simple

Failing hurts, so do everything to make success more likely. When we try to change, a mistake that is often made is to think in goals and abstraction (Tiggelaar). To reach a goal you will have to act, so you need behaviors. Realizing which behaviors are necessary is a huge step forward on your way to achieve your goals. So think in behaviors, not goals or abstractions. What behavior are you targeting? Thinking in terms of goals brings two problems. Firstly we don’t realize which new (repetitive!) behaviors are necessary and secondly we don’t realize how to implement these new behaviors into our daily routines.   Habits: tiny entities The best thing about habits is that they don’t take a lot of effort. Once a habit is in place we perform the action without much thought and there is little motivation needed (Fogg). That is why they are so great! The only problem is how to get a habit in place. Next to the importance of triggers (see below) I want to endorse the importance of baby steps. A major change is harder than a small change. Trying to change step by step is a way to make the complicated process easier. You might wonder why you want to make the process easier? Our brain associates (new) activities with how we appreciate these activities. If you keep on pushing yourself, you will do things ‘against your will’. This will create a negative reaction towards the wanted behavior. This negativity will greatly influence your chances of success, so avoid it with baby steps! Triggers To think about behavior, we need a trigger. The trigger itself is not motivating, neither does it make the action easier. It just reminds you to...