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...

The human: a lean machine...

Fixed-action patterns are behaviors that occur in almost the same fashion an order every time we perform them. In animals they are much stronger and therefore more easily recognized. Animals can also be quite funny because of these strong patterns. Because we can understand rationally how their action sometimes mismatch with the current situation their standard reaction sometimes look really stupid (Cialdini). My cat will react to the sound of the kitchen cabinet every time I open it. It does not matter if he just ate his food give minutes ago. He will even react ten times in a row… Automaticity in humans Ben Tiggelaar uses the 5/95-approach, assuming 95% of human behavior to be unconscious and/or automatic. Cialdini thinks that the current society and the amount of information we are provided to us requires us to react more automatic than ever before. All this automaticity in our behavior is highly efficient. If you know you will be hungry if you don’t eat breakfast it would be silly to decide every day again to eat breakfast. It is quicker and more practical to just make yourself something to eat while thinking about all plans you have for today. Chances are you don’t even think about what you eat, nor if you feel like eating this. Just imagine how much time all these decisions would cost you! I find people very skeptical when you tell them about automaticity. My opinion is different: I think we should celebrate how great this lean machine works. Adjusting your behavioral program All these automatic behaviors make it not so easy to change our behavior just by deciding to do so. If you drove to work the same route for three years, it is hard...