SJH

Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading The Progress Letter.

June 25, 2023 | Max Jenkinson

From Vision to Action: A Practical Guide to Implementing Chang in 4 Steps

The two previous posts have been all about change.

In How To Prepare For The AI Revolution, we reviewed a process to map out real change.

How you need to go from a passive state of not defining:

  • who you are (identity)

  • what you are doing (process)

  • who you are becoming (passive)

To one where you have actually defined:

  • who you are (identity)

  • what you are doing (process)

  • who you want to become (active)

Then you use the priority pie to change what you are doing to what you could be doing so that you get to where you want to go.

It’s all about how you should spend your limited resource of time.

In The Clear Way – How to Actually Change, you understood why personal change is so hard (and why it doesn’t have to be).

I wrote about how you should take The Clear Way instead of The Old Way.

The Old Way:

  • Pick a goal (desired outcome), define a process that will lead you there, and hope that this will change who you are (identity).

The Clear Way:

  • Define an identity, pick a process that affirms your identity, and hope this will lead to desired outcomes.

By taking The Clear Way you become process-oriented instead of goal-focused.

This causes you to view processes through the lens of if it moves you toward who you want to become (identity).

Instead of viewing processes through the lens of if it moves you closer to a goal (desired outcome).

We live in a way that affirms who we think we are. Real change starts by changing our identity first.

Once you start to redefine your identity the next step is to implement change to prove to yourselves that you are who you say you are.

To do this we’ll, once again, use the help of some concepts from James Clear’s best-seller Atomic Habits.

 

Step 1 – Become Aware Of The Habits You Have

Now this might sound like advice I have given in the past (which it is).

Yet, here we will go into some more detail that I think will help you gain a clearer picture of what habits you currently have.

To actually change you need to swap out unproductive habits and replace them with ones that will make your lives better.

To become aware of the habits you have (so you can change them), you first need to understand what a habit is.

To do this, you need to understand the habit feedback loop.

It goes like this:

  1. Cue (trigger)

  2. Craving

  3. Response (action)

  4. Reward

A habit always starts with a trigger that reminds you of an action.

The action is associated with an outcome that you view as rewarding.

A craving for a positive outcome ensues.

You execute the action to satisfy the craving.

If the outcome of the action (reward) is, well, rewarding, then the trigger will be more effective in the future.

Now look at this feedback loop and get used to viewing actions through this lens.

Define each step for brushing your teeth in the evening.

Then start looking at your day.

What habits do you have when you wake up, before you leave your home, and when you talk with your mom or dad?

What do you do when you have a couple of unscheduled hours?

 

Step 2 – Change The Habits You Deem Destructive


Back to James Clear. After reading up on the science behind this feedback loop he created a concept.

Something he calls the four laws of behavioural change which describes how one would remove, change or install a habit.

The four laws are directly related to the habit feedback loop.

  1. Make it obvious

  2. Make it attractive

  3. Make it easy

  4. Make it satisfying

1) The first law is all about making the trigger as obvious as possible.

The trigger is always the first step of a habit.

If we make the trigger for the actions we want as obvious as possible we increase the likelihood they will be done.

I usually use a combination of time, location and clothes as the trigger.

It could also be a certain kind of music you always listen to before going to the gym, before writing, or before studying.

It could be chewing a specific gum only while doing one behaviour.

Or only wearing a certain shirt or socks while doing another behaviour.

But, you should find out what works for you.

2) The second law tells us to make the behaviour attractive so that we increase the desire to go through the action loop.

We can do this in two different ways.

  • Habit-stacking – here we stack something that is easy and satisfying with something that is hard. This is why I take walks after meals.

  • Habit-integration – Here we integrate two behaviours into one. One that we want to do with what we know we should do. Like indoor biking and watching your favourite youtube show.

3) The third law tells us to make the behaviour easier.

The easier it is to complete, the less friction there will be to execute the action.

Let’s say you want to study for 90 minutes at 16:30.

  • Prepare your place of study.

  • Clean the desk & put out all the things you need.

  • During the session close the door, place your phone outside of the room, & set a timer for 90 minutes.

4) The fourth and final law is all about making the behaviour more rewarding.

If we can increase the perceived reward for a behaviour it is more likely that we will do it.

We can do this by stacking rewards on top of hard behaviours.

For example, I am only allowed to watch a youtube video after I write for 90 minutes.

Or, I can only hang out with my friends today if I first do X.

Here is the logic behind the four laws of behaviour change.

The larger the perceived reward, the larger the desire.

The distance between the desire and the reward is the behaviour.

The easier the behaviour is to perform, the more often we will shorten the distance between desire and reward (behaviour).

The trigger is what starts the process.

Regardless of how attractive, easy or rewarding the behaviour is, without a trigger, it won’t happen.

Again Clear makes a genius move and inverts the laws for habits we want to remove.

  1. Make it invisible (remove all possible triggers)

    1. If the trigger never occurs the feedback loop will never start.

  2. Make it unattractive

    1. Reframe how you view the behaviour & the potential reward

    2. This minimizes the desire for the behaviour because the reward has less value.

  3. Make it hard

    1. Increasing the distance between the trigger and the reward will make it less likely you will do the habit.

    2. You can do this by removing the things required to do the behaviour, like not having any unhealthy food at home.

  4. Make it unsatisfying

    1. Make it less rewarding.

 

Step 3 – Make Habits Unreasonably Easy

The four laws are all about reducing the friction of productive habits and increasing the friction of destructive habits.

I like to view myself as an all-or-nothing kind of guy. This has made it difficult for me to implement good habits in areas that I am not all in on.

What Clear reminds us to do is to start super simple when trying to change.

To reduce the friction we need to understand another one of Clear’s rules, the two-minute rule (the man loves rules).

It states that a new habit should never take more than two minutes to complete.

It makes the habit so easy (lowers the friction) that it becomes hard for us not to do it.

Standardize before you optimize

James Clear

This quote is etched into my mind.

It is only when a behavioural pattern has become automatic (a habit) that we can start to optimize it.

When two minutes has become easy, and even gives rise to negative emotions if we don’t do it (like brushing your teeth), you know you are on your way to success.

If you want to start meditating, reading or exercising, don’t start with multiple hours per week.

Instead, start with the least amount of time you know you can do even on your worst day.

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

Archilochus

Don’t think of habit formation as the implementation of behaviours with positive outcomes.

Think of habit formation as training – as the process of aligning your actions with your target.

 

Step 4 – Align The Change With Who You Are

What we think we want is usually not what we actually want (especially when we are younger).

This is because we delegate the process of setting up the target (what we aim at) to others, our friends, our family, and our society.

Aiming at a target we have not chosen ourselves is counterproductive.

We don’t have a clear why and so we forget the core motivation behind the process of becoming a better shot.

The process of hitting the target soon becomes boring, causing us to become demotivated, and so we give up.

The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.

James Clear

If we choose our targets based on what we think others find desirable we will never have the endurance to actually hit the targets.

If we never hit a target that we say we want to hit, then we will lose trust in ourselves.

We will lose motivation to strive, and thus, develop a limiting belief about ourselves.

You are an archer in the game of life.

  • Your bow and arrows are your actions.

  • Your aim is the purpose of the shot (to hit the target).

  • Your target is your ideal identity (who you want to become).

The goal of life is not to hit as many targets as possible, it’s to become the best archer you can.

This fits perfectly with the Greek aphorism “know thyself”.

The process of becoming an archer in the game of life is the process by which we get to know ourselves.

Set up your target, pick the bow and arrows you think will help you hit it, and start shooting.

Look at the process over time.

Are you becoming a better shot? If not, change your bow and arrows.

Are you getting bored shooting at this target? If yes, change your target.

The higher resolution your target is, the easier it will be to hit it.

You’ll also have an easier time picking the correct bow and arrows.

The better archer you become, the more often you will hit the target.

The more often you hit the target, the easier it will be to adjust the process so that you move faster toward where you want to go.

Self-development is not linear, it is exponential – so start today.

 

Use The Priority Pie and The Clear Way I wrote about in the two previous newsletters to determine your targets, the bow and the arrows.

We are sicker than ever but we have more information than ever about how to be healthy.

You know you can feel better, look better, think better and be better.

The change starts with you.

I am just here to help myself and as many people as possible on their journey to becoming an awesome and unique archer.

Change needs to occur slowly and gradually.

Sustainable personal development is what we want.

If you now decide to put your own well-being into your own hands,

  • define your target

  • pick a bow and some arrows

  • and focus on the process.

Start slow, start small, and realize that your potential is almost limitless.

Why Life Has To Be Hard

Has anything worthwhile ever been easy? If not, why are we constantly searching for the easy way...

The Final Diet Boss: Intuitive Eating

Here's how you eat what you want, when you want, to get and maintain the body you want...

Eating More Protein Could Fix It All

Eating more quality protein could fix most of your health issues. Is it really that simple? Let's...

Grow Up & Eat Real Food

Let's gain a firm grip on why eating real food matters. To do so we need to, of all things, turn to...

Why You Might Want To Quit Social Media For Good

There is a reason why social media is messing with our minds and it's not what you think...

Turning The Food Pyramid Upside Down

Eat the opposite of what you've been told and you'll become a super human...

How To Be Healthy

The Minimal Effective Dose For Health...

Making Food Make Sense

Our bodies are not perfect, but, they're trying their very best at keeping us healthy. Eating a diet...

Your Body Is Confused By What You’re Eating

Food is information. If your body cannot understand what the food coming in is it will make...

Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading The Progress Letter.