Simplicity Changes Behavior
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt
Stanford Researcher, BJ Fogg has been researching principles of behavior change for over a decade. Essentially, he studies why we do what we do and how we change what we do. This is not a new subject. A million and one articles and self-help books out there cover it. But I enjoyed this review of his book nonetheless.
Understanding the formula for how to create behavior change for ourselves is an important skill. We have to be able to self reflect without bias and with honesty – what are we doing and not doing that we control that contributes and detracts from the goals we seek to ascertain?
How many times have you set a goal but not quite reached it? Or started out extremely motivated only to have it wane two weeks in? I’m guilty as charged. It’s safe to say many of the folks I’ve coached have been too. It’s rarely due to the fact that we don’t know what to do, it’s because behavior change is universally DIFFICULT.
As Fogg explains, we constantly encounter competing influences and changes in motivation over time. I’ve talked in previous articles about consistency, action dominoes, and momentum vs motivation, so this resonated with me big time. Fogg has developed a model of thinking to help folks roadmap success. This is applicable to fitness goals as well as personal or professional goals. His biggest suggestion?
It’s literally the name of his book. Tiny Changes. Here’s 3 key things from it that you could implement that will lead to bigger change down the road.
Make it easyMake it fit your lifeMake it rewarding
Want to eat more vegetables but struggle because it takes more time and mental energy to wash, cut and prepare them and you are tired? Buy pre-packaged/prepped veggies.
MAKE IT EASY.
Want to train for a marathon but have a lot of other obligations? Train first thing in the day. Or schedule your training like you do meetings – make your schedule and life conducive to your goal.
Want to change your body composition? Find an activity or community that will be enjoyable to participate in. If you dread the activity, there’s no way you’re getting to the goal.
Points #2 and #3 are incredibly helpful to have a coach on. Coaches can help objectively guide you through making a bite-size plan that fits your life and your values and can often help you get creative in how to make the process rewarding. Sometimes how we THINK the process needs to look is not the only way it can look or how it should look for US! (i.e. suffering through soul-killing workouts…maybe the solution is actually getting out for a walk on the beach? Or sleeping in?)
There are many folks out there who say DISCIPLINE is the key to behavior change – a “grin and bare it” kind of attitude. Discipline will absolutely enter into your recipe for change and goal achievement. In all likelihood it makes attainment of goals easier. However, life is not bootcamp. You don’t have to be Jocko Willink to reach your goals, as inspirational as he is. If his lifestyle fits yours, then “get some” as he says. Buddha did some badass stuff too, like reaching nirvana, and he started small – by sitting under a tree and breathing and thinking about not thinking. Discipline in action can take many forms. If you want to teach yourself discipline, I’d suggest starting SMALL. Tiny even.
There’s a saying – humans overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year, but underestimate what they can in 3 years. I believe the same holds true on a smaller scale in the gym. People overestimate what they can accomplish in 90 days, but underestimate what they can achieve in 1 year. The important thing is to use 60 and 90-day increments of time to keep you:
– on track
– provide feedback
We just passed the 90-day mark of 2021. How have your 90-day goals gone so far? Have you made progress? Have you achieved your goal? Has consistency or motivation waned? Can you determine why? What elements of the 3 TINY rules did you meet and which did you fail?
Talk it out with myself (drop me a comment!) or another coach – we’ll help you think TINY and figure out how to be CONSISTENT. We have 3 more 90-day blocks left in 2021…imagine what you could do if you get focused in each one of them. Download our FREE Goal Setting Workbook and map out your plan!