If you want a change to stick, make it as simple as possible and make it as easy as possible.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
You’d be surprised at how often we overcomplicate these things— then make them as hard as possible to follow through on.
I say “we,” because I do it too!
It doesn’t matter how smart we are, how committed we are, or how much we really WANT the change to stick.
Human beings just have a track record of making things more complicated and more difficult than they need to be.
The way we do this most often is, we try to pull off too much at once.
We take a look at a change we want to make, and we decide that the ENTIRE change needs to happen at once.
We don’t stop to think that most changes we want to make include steps or preparation.
For example, many people begin the new year wanting to make changes in how they eat.
No more crap, they’ll decide. I eat healthy things and healthy amounts, now.
Do you realize how complicated a thing this seemingly “simple” statement is?
There are multiple steps that “eating healthy foods and amounts” entails.
One step is looking up recipes.
Another step is getting rid of the unhealthy stuff in your kitchen and house.
Another step is meal planning and scheduling.
And all of that doesn’t even touch the REAL work involved in that project: identifying and developing the coping skills you’re going to need for when you WANT to eat unhealthy things in unhealthy amounts— as you’ve been programmed and conditioned to do over the years.
We do this ALL THE TIME.
Instead of tackling one step of a change, we blithely declare the we’re just going to, you know, make the change…and thus we take on a bunch of complexity that we didn’t even realize was there (overcomplicating it) without taking steps to make it less painful (making it harder than it needs to be).
We humans really can change our behavior.
But we need to do it in a way that makes sense.
We need to do it in a way that doesn’t set us up to fail.
And we need to do it in a way that is straightforward— and is as easy as is practical.
Sometimes, people are reluctant to make a plan that IS straightforward and relatively easier, specifically because it seems TOO straightforward and easy.
They think, if change was that easy, I would have made it by now, right? So this straightforward plan CAN’T be the way.
I’m here to tell you: most change that happens in the real world happens as the result of plans that are simple, straightforward, and don’t require you to move heaven and earth.
Most changes that do NOT happen, get stalled out because the plan’s too convoluted, tries to deal with too many steps at once, and includes the experience of a lot of pain up front.
Is it any wonder why those plans don’t work?
Don’t try to be a hero.
Make your plan as realistic as possible.
Only deal with one step at a time.
Don’t ask yourself to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Change can, and does, happen….but it usually happens in nudges.
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