Well, hope everybody's doing well today we've been you know, we've said a pretty good pace for the day. I mean, you know, it's a marathon, not a sprint and that's true for behavior change and it's also true for getting through a three day, uh, class, but I appreciate everybody sticking with me, and I hope all you are doing well out there today, we've actually hit a really big point, right? I mean, I always feel like it's important to see each day build up towards towards something big, and and, you know, if we're going to talk about changing behavior, then you know, we we really need to set the problem up and then helped to solve that problem, and so we've set the problem up, we figured out how habits work, right? We've we've talked about this idea of these consistent mapping and repetition. We've talked about how the motivational system works, that we have this ghost system that creates habits that engages goals that pushes us towards doing behaviors, and then a stop system that will ...
sometimes help us to stop a behaviour that's gotten along the path, and we talked about this idea now of aligning the short term goals way have with long term things that we're trying to achieve, so now we need to figure out, how do we structure the world so that we can effectively create plans that will help us to make that change in our behavior and that's what we're going to do in the rest of the afternoon, we're going to talk about how to do that and then not only are we going to talk about how to do it, we're going to do it right and then we're gonna talk about what we did, so this is going to be great, I'm looking forward to this, so we're gonna talk about figuring out the goals remember we talked about there are there are different kinds of goals that we have, so just as ah review right, we have approach goals, approach girls or desirable states of the world that we'd like to achieve, okay, thes air things like eating a good meal, making a friend doing something enjoyable and then we have avoidance goals and avoidance goals are states the world we'd like to avoid. So, you know, historically, maybe that was, you know, avoid getting hit by a tiger in the more modern world, it might be loose is wait or stopping smoking or, you know, not getting fired, something like that, right? So we have these kinds of goals now we're about to talk about situations in which we fail at our goals, so what I'd like to do is to set this it's to set this into into a context, which is to make it clear, because I always worry when I do a class on behavior change that people going to leave kind of depressed, you know, that, uh, failing at michael's again, it's gonna be so much work to live my life. And I want you all to go to bask in the glory for a moment that is your life, right? For most of you, you're actually doing a pretty good job of achieving most of your goals most of the time. And so I don't. I want youto feel pretty good about your life before we start taking things apart and figure out how we can do better. Okay, we actually achieved most of our goals partly because of physiological factors, right? I mean, your body tells you all sorts of things about goal achievement, right? You, you, you at some point, if you don't eat when you need to eat, you get hungry. If you don't sleep, when you need to sleep, you get tired. And so your body reminds you to do all sorts of things that are really crucial for your day to day life. Okay, in addition to that, we have lots of social support for a lot of our goals. You know things like mailing a letter you know or or getting to and from work and there's lots of things where there's just a tremendous amount of social support to help us to achieve the goals that we want to achieve and then there were a certain number of things that we've done because they were just important to us and we manage to power through them I mean, getting a college degree for example it's not an easy thing to dio its it requires a tremendous amount of work and yet many people managed to get through college just because it was important and there was some social support for it. I mean, luckily we put together universities and those universities have lots of people who are available to help you too to to get through them, but at the end of the day, it's because you wake up and think, you know what I know I'd rather go to a party tonight, but I'm going to stay in and do my homework, you get up and you and you think you know what? I'm going to go to class today even though I'd rather sleep in and it's those kinds of things that really help you to achieve most of your goals most of the time and I'm gonna make you feel better about failure too, because it turns out that failure is a necessary part of life and you know what? Sometimes failure is even good here's the best kind of failure to it to achieve so so sometimes we need to fail just to help us resolve the trade off between effort and accuracy so if you think about any decision that you make in your life there's a certain amount of time you might be willing to spend on that decision and and you have to achieve a certain level of accuracy sum of our decisions air really important I mentioned earlier in the day that that I recently moved to a new house and uh and buying a new house is a big decision, right? It's one of the biggest financial commitments most people will ever make and if you're gonna live in a house for a long time you'd better like it okay, so you better like the house so so part of the problem is how do you uh how do you make sure that you that you do a good job of spending enough time on the decisions that you need to make okay um now uh there are other decisions that are not so consequential. So for example, if you stand in front of the floor of candy at like your local walgreens or cvs you know you walk up to the to the counter and there's just every imaginable candy down there it just doesn't matter if you have a peek candy experience it really doesn't, you know and so and so imagine you're standing in line behind somebody at cvs and they spend like an hour looking at the candy you know you'd be angry if you like get on with it already. Well, what is it that stops us from spending an hour looking at at the candy? What what stops us is that occasionally we make decisions too quickly and we fail, right? So so you know, you're sometimes we just rush into something and buy it really quickly or we agree to go on a date with someone that we probably should have thought more carefully about or whatever it is every once in a while we make decisions too quickly and we fail and what that teaches us is there was a case where you ought to spend more time on it now with the candy decision, what you discover is occasionally by a piece of candy more or less at random and you know what? It's pretty good and so you realize you know what? I don't need to spend that much time picking candy because almost any piece of candies all right and so on dh so that's how you learn which decisions you need to spend some more time on and which ones you don't is by failing every once in a while and that's a good kind of failure because you're learning about the world another kind of failure that happens fairly often is is the failure that comes from the limitation and resource is that you have so the fact is there isn't enough time and money and energy to be able to do every single thing you want to do when you want to do it, you just can't. And so what that means is that every once in a while you have to trade your goals off so someone might skip out on an afternoon of work in order to go pick their kid up and take them to an event, and then they might stay late at work in order to teo do something but miss out on dinner with the family and then they might go to the gym instead of instead of doing something else that they need to do. Those tradeoffs, those air called life okay, and the trick to life is two fail un systematically. The idea is that as long as you are more or less taking care of all the things that you need to do on a more or less regular basis and some days you do something you want to do at the expense of something else, but it all balances out in the long run if you do that. Yes, there are failures along the way, but more or less you are doing a good job of being a grown up that's what life is all about? The difficulty that we have is when we systematically fail at things okay that's where the problem comes when we systematically failed because there's something we'd like to achieve and we haven't been able to do it over and over and over and over again and when there is systematic failure that's the place where we need to do a better job of working on these goals that's the place where we need to align the short term actions with long term goals. Now I talked a little bit about things like this short term long term trade off I want to mention another which is another place of systematic failure, which is the trade off between vices and virtues, vices or things that have a lot of value to us in the short term valya virtues or things that have value for us in the long term. So if you think about and so if you think about for example, watching a movie versus reading a classic book, there are all sorts of books that people believe they should have read, but they never actually read movies that people believe they should have seen that have never actually seen this gave rise to what I used to call the netflix effect back when netflix had the dvd home delivery you put these movies on your cue that you believed you ought to see you know documentaries and things like schindler's list and stuff like that and you think I really ought to see this you put it on your cue and then eventually we get to the top of the queue and it would come home and you have three movies at home and there was no actual night at which you ever wanted to see that particular movie right and so you would never watch it and they would sit at home for you know, weeks until you finally either sent it back or came up with another strategy by the way for a lot of those movies if you want the strategy for watching some of those movies what I recommend is agree to watch him for like ten minutes and then say if I don't like it in ten min and I'll shut it off because a lot of those movies are actually really engrossing once you get into him and so once you start you actually watch the whole thing it helps you to overcome uh this idea of chickening out so so one of s o s o we have two sources of systematic failure here short term versus long term goals and then vices and virtues um but what I want to talk about right now is actually a more important one which is that most of our goals are actually defined way too abstract lee for us to be able to succeed at them and and that's really where we're going to do some work in a moment but I want to I want to put this into context so let's take a step back, right? We talked in the last segment about the fact that we have these overarching goals that we would like to achieve uh we'd like teo whatever it is for us when we wrote down each of you wrote down an overarching goal now the problem with that overarching goal whatever it wa so for example, it might be to really change your diet, you know, it might be too to make a change it will what were some of your goals? What were some of the abstract goals? We'll go after them for me lose weight okay, landing a job I really landing a job started folk up at six a m there you go. So the thing about these that were really about you I didn't really have them, but I'd love to learn spanish there you go like to learn spanish? Well, that's see, but but notice job nothing through that window has been one of mine as well, actually. So the thing is these goals, by and large are things that are really interesting to do important to do, but how do you do it's just too abstract again? You can't just wake up one day and know spanish you know, even if you grow up in spain it takes years to learn you know I mean so so you you just can't wake up and do it you have to actually go through a set of of procedures to do this and this is really so I want to tell my story about learning to play the saxophone and then and then you guys I'm gonna go through and actually fill out a worksheet t generate your own plan and we're gonna talk about how that went so so really so as I said at the very beginning, you know, I made this decision that I wanted to learn to play the sax because I didn't want to regret not having learned to play the sax and and the problem is how do you how do you turn that into a reality? Well, as I said earlier if if all I did was to say I want to learn to play the socks I still wouldn't play it to this day so I had to turn that into a specific a plan that made reference to particular actions that I could take a particular times otherwise I'd never learned to play so for example I had to buy a saxophone I didn't actually own a sax at that point I had to find a saxophone teacher I went down to a local music store and asked for a name somebody who taught adults, and then that guy bought me a sax I had toe to figure out when I was going to take lessons, and not just when, like, I'm going to take lessons once a week. The plan actually has to get down to the level of specificity of when and where this is gonna happen. It turns out, once a week never actually happens. I mean, look at your calendar. Look at the look at where is once a week it's nowhere. I know where you have to say I'm going, I'm going to tell you, my lesson is going to be thursday mornings at eight a m I, which is true, I wake up this poor saks teacher, a poor musician has to get up early enough to give me an eight a m lesson, but but I have, you know, it's it's on the calendar at a specific time, you have to create other events that have particular timesa day associated with them, and when I say times a day, they don't necessarily need to be calender times a day, but they need to be recognizable mental times of day. For example, when I decided to play the sax, I said, I'm going to practice every day after dinner now after dinner isn't a time per se, but it is time in terms ofthe I eat dinner every day so there's an after dinner every day okay, so that was my decision I was going to play the sax and every day after dinner now when you begin to create these kinds of plans part of what happens is you quickly realize that there are tradeoffs that you bump into all of these kinds of resource trade offs. So for example, why isn't it that everybody learned why is it that everyone doesn't learn to play an instrument, right? I mean it's not just a lack of desire I bump into lots of people who say you learned to play the sex I've always wanted to play the sax well, why don't you? Well, you know, and then you get this whole list of reasons why it didn't happen? Well, the reason is because of what we talked about, everything is resource tradeoffs do you know anybody who's lives aren't already full really? I mean, how many people just kind of sit around for several hours a day? Not really, you know, trying to figure out what they're going to do. I mean, almost nobody I know right? People have stuff to do, so if you're going to take on something big learning spanish, you know, something you've got to actually create the time for it and this is where I started talking about thinking about where your day goes because it turns out as you begin to look more carefully at your day, there are all sorts of pockets of resource is that are not being used as effectively as they could be for me it was television, so it occurred to me at some point I was didn't watch a lot of tv maybe maybe one or two shows so, you know, maybe maybe forty five minutes an hour a night, you know? But but it adds up, you know, in our oven tonight doesn't seem like that much, but let's say it's six nights a week, so that's, you know, that's six hours a week, it's three hundred hours a year, you know? I don't know after a while that sort of adds up, doesn't it? You know? And so I decided, you know what? I'm going to play the sax instead of watching television and so that was where my I resource tradeoff came from, right? So I began to have now notice what's involved in this how many of you are good at talking yourselves out of doing things? Anybody yeah, look at that almost there and how many of you think that's a bad thing that you could talk yourselves out of things, okay, um it can be bad, but here's the thing you need to harness that resource okay because um I put this into context one of my least favorite books over the last five ten years is a book called the secret okay now what I don't like about the secret isn't it it basically advocates primarily really happy positive thinking and it's not that I'm not a happy positive guy I like positive thinking the problem is that in addition to thinking positively which they say resonates with the positive energy of the universe and somehow brings about the good outcomes for you the problem you want to have a little bit of positive energy you want to be excited and motivated to do good things but actually you need to take that skill that each of you has to talk yourself out of doing something and harness that find every possible objection to why what you're planning to do isn't gonna work but then turn it on its head rather than using those objections to figure out why you can't do something plan for it plan for it acknowledge that those obstacles are goingto happen and be ready forthe that's what you need to do if you want to create a good plan that plan not only has to be specific it has to really acknowledge what's going to go wrong because if you don't acknowledge what's going to go wrong it's goingto happen anyhow you want to go running when you're on vacation plan for that in advance don't wait until you're on vacation to say well how am I going to do this look at the calendar and say okay here three days when we're not really doing anything into I'll pen thirty I'm going to run before that or whatever it is right planned for it in advanced be ready for the problems before they happen because it's so much easier to deal with things when you've envisioned what might happen then if you just get caught flat footed if you don't if you assume nothing is ever going to go wrong so it's really important to to really think through the obstacles and it's also really important to be realistic mean, we are busy people and you cannot just assume that that I'm going to change my behavior overnight and magical things they're gonna happen when I decided to play the saxophone right I realized I have a limited amount of time I am I have a full time job I have kids um my goal was that in that in ten years I wouldn't suck that was my goal and I succeeded actually I ten years went by and people after ten years people say are you any good? And I would say look, I am better than anyone who doesn't play and not as good as anyone who does right if somebody said they played in junior high I'm better than they are on if somebody introduces themselves and says I'm a sax player they're better than I am, and I'm okay with that, you know, but you have to be realistic, because now I feel like a least. I can play the sax, you know?