Last fall I read a great book called, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, written by Robert Maurer. The book explained why most of us find it difficult to make big changes in our life or learn new behaviors.
He explains the science behind it, but my crude summary is this: we innately find a big goal or new behavior, such as getting in shape, stressful so we technically become scared and the fight or flight part of our brain, the Amygdala, activates and controls our behavior. When the Amygdala is in control, our higher, more rational, more creative part of the brain, the Cortex, is prevented from activating. When this happens our ability to attack big challenges is limited. Kind of like a deer in the headlights. Essentially we are wired to resist change.
His advice is to break big goals into small stress free steps. So rather than thinking about losing 50 lbs,you simply decide to go to the gym once, or once a week. A baby step related to not exercising at all. Then, in turn, going to the gym is another incremental step.
Same goes for answering big questions or solving big problems. Click here to continue reading this post…
Rather than stare at a huge question such as how do I double my income and eliminate all my debt, you pose a small question to yourself such as what are three things I could do to earn a little more money this month.
In my own case, I tend to get excited by setting big goals, then I think through all the steps, get overwhelmed by all the work ahead of me and often start procrastinating instead of just getting started. This system works for me because I condition myself to ignore what is ahead of me on big projects. I am far more productive this way.
The book should have been called Baby Steps Baby!
If you have a chance, get this book. I think the audio version has additional content since it includes the audio from live seminars led by Maurer with audience questions. Plus he is a down to earth guy and his light humor shows through. Enjoy.