Why We Fail
We're going to talk in this segment about why it's so hard to change behavior you know I'm just a hazard to guess if you guys decided you're going to do something and not done it or you set out on day one and you're thinking yeah, I'm going to do this I'm gonna I'm gonna be the primo exerciser and I'm going to do this for an hour day and by day three something gets in your way the meeting runs long it's raining and you don't do it by day for your motivation falls off drastically or maybe he started out with a new year's resolution and we know how effective new year's resolutions are eye used to belong to the y in my neighborhood and as a member we couldn't stand january because it was packed absolutely packed with people wearing their brand new exercise clothes that were under the tree and by february we knew they'd start to fall off and sure enough by march it was back to the regular crown so we have a habit of humans and of failing at the habits we think we want to choose so we've be...
en talking about in the first segment how to pick a habit something that excites you two d'oh now I want to look at, you know, making sure you don't fail doing it, setting yourself up to really win I'm talking about why is behavior change so hard one in nine people faced with cardiac surgery. I'm talking with the chest open. One in nine people managed to successfully change toe, healthier lifestyle habits that would support the cardiac health. Now one would think that the risk of death would be a pretty good motivator. I mean, we're talking a big surgery, the risk of death would be a good motivator, and one and nine manages it. So if that's why is it so hard for humans to change behavior? And if that's the case, how can you be the one? You know, let's be the one instead of the nine where the other eight? Yeah, let me do some math let's be the for one instead of the other eight. So why do you think people fail? We'll kind of teased out a number of things, and I'd love to hear your input for when you've not managed. The word fail is strong, but when you've not managed to create a new habit, love to hear your input, but these are some of the things that I've come up with from reviewing literature. First of all, we tried too many things at once and that we're human, we decide that we're really in pain, life is miserable, this isn't working well, so we need to change everything but changing everything is really hard. Really, really hard unless you decide to move and you're going to hire a staff that supports you on all of a sudden somebody's making your meals and the trainer arrives and your mindfulness coach arrives and everything's taken care of for you which is not the majority of our lives it's taking on too many things is tough or we take on something that's just too big if you want to tell me I'm going to run the boston marathon it's probably not happening if you want me to start running that's that's within the realm of possibility but the marathon's probably not for me I that's too big a goal so when I have too big a go what oh I see I see the distance between me and that and it's defeating it's too much I don't wantto have a goal that's so big that in my mind my inner critic is saying there is no way you're doing that honey that that's just exhausting or we want to do it too fast if I said that I was going to run the boston marathon um well actually it's happened for this part of the year but if I said I was going to run in three weeks what are my chances? Aye but we do that same sort of thing with other habits we first of all we make a goal and we say that we're going toe do something really huge that's unreasonable and then we're going to do it really fast it's it's what we want because we want to have arrived and yet we don't realize that when we do that we would do all the vision, anything we picture ourselves doing it and that's a positive thing, but when we don't tease out howto exactly do it, we have this huge gap and the gap that really we drown in that gap. So those are the two big things then there's some two little things, we're not clear about what we really want to dio we've a fuzzy go there were it's a being goal, you know I want to be healthier, well, that's not an action that's a being, you need the action that goes with it that what you're going to do, you're not you need to be really clear about that. I want to be more positive. Well, that's great, but what are you going to do? You've got to be very clear about what you're going to do. We're going to talk about how to make a smart goal for that. Well, maybe you don't have the resource is and then we say this a lot I worked with a client who wanted to lose weight and when I started to work with him realized he didn't understand a lot about the relationship between the behaviors and eating that he was doing to wait he needed to learn more and so his first goal went from the losing weight to the learning goal and that eventually paid off but sometimes we don't have what we need we jump right in and we forget to check if we have what we need or we don't have the skill I'm not a very good runner going off to run the boston marathon would probably take me learning from a trainer how to run so I don't kill myself oh because I probably would so you need to make sure you've got the resource is and the skills lined up if you want to meet a goal that's even important if you're helping other people meet a goal sometimes you can see this for somebody else you can say you know well you set out to do this but you didn't have everything you needed to do it so it's not that you're bad it's not that you're a failure you didn't have what you needed to do it we then needed to learn something new or get something to support you motivation we've touched on motivation in the earlier session's of this motivation is a really interesting thing why are you doing it? Are you doing it because you should how likely are you going to do it because you should you're not because inside your brain's going adam thinks and you're just the very word should brings up your resistance, so you've got to find the things that intrinsically motivate you intrinsic motivation, being autonomy, mastery and purpose. Something is pulling you forward, and you have to have, like, a seven or more out of ten level of motivation to make it the compass if it's a four or five there's, some other there's, some other stuff going on, and we're going talk about that, we may think we're motivated where you know, I'm motivated to give up sugar, but the motivation for me to feel the benefit of sugar has been winning a lot of the time, so you not have you don't try that you don't. I want to just look at what's motivating you to make that goal, but also what's motivating you on the flip side to not make that goal. Looking at the whole picture of motivation is much more empowering than looking at one part. So as I'm speaking, think to yourself of of a place where maybe you just tripped yourself up because you were missing one of these parts or you'd set something up to be too big and you may not have the confidence I love encroaching working with people, and they'll tell me what their goal is going well, talk about a vision will tease out what they want from that. And we'll talk about goals and I can usually tell just from the verbal queuing and the body language if we're live or that or just that that voice alone I'm going to learn emotional intelligence yes, that person going to do that, you know that it's you have to feel confident you can do it and that sometimes feels like an oxymoron like I want to learn something, but I have to feel confident I can and confidence comes from learning, but there are other ways to build confidence to find it in the power of what you've done before and apply it to this goal. So is as you listen to these reasons of why we fail, listen for the opportunity where is a place we sabotaged yourself and now you khun move that around and set yourself upto win that's the reason toe look at failure, as I've said a billion times now I think it's all research and this is just data. So if there's something you've done before, if you're one of those people, who's had the same new year's resolution every single year there's some data there you may want to try a different resolution this year, fill little empowered but look at the data and see why so that you're not feeding your inner critic and your sense of failure and really bombing out on your confidence another huge reason that we fail us humans to change something is we don't have a plan for our obstacles and if you think that you can go out and decide to do something in and they're going to be no it falls along the way get over it you know things are gonna happen things you didn't plan plus the things you do you normally do where you sabotage yourself this stuff is just gonna happen so you have to have a plan for where you self sabotage and a plan for the sabotage that are going to come from the outside world and that could be simple little things like knowing that meetings run over and you want to get to the gym so you're going to keep gym clothes in the car little tweaks they're going to keep things from getting in your way the issue of depression because they're saying they have then they have no motivation for anything but again is that really self sabotage by sort of? I don't know what I mean by giving into depression, but you're using that as your your latest excuse for sabotage was that fall down flix that's a circle it really is a circle sometimes in the space of depression it is very hard to come up with motivation and reframing khun b one of the better tools in that space depression makes it hard for our brains to find motivation really makes it hard for willpower so don't do anything that relies on willpower talk a little bit more about that but in the state of depression motivation is what's lost its that will that energy faking a team make it is one of the places where that can help a little bit just get moving just get moving for example don't set a goal of going to the gym for a now er put on music and move for five minutes put on something that makes you happy use things that hold you and we'll talk a little bit about putting guard rails in place something that holds you depression is a big topic and something that is actually rising so fast that it's going to be the number one disease burden by the year twenty twenty so we do need to find ways motivator cells create habits and do things in the middle of depression on dh getting some help and support with it can be really helpful for that. So thank you for asking that they are tied together and stress and depression are hugely tied together depression is the outcome of stress that has been unmanaged and that is not the only cause of depression I don't want to focus on that but it's it's definitely one path to depression say you know that they're flying said they know they should do things but because of their press state they just it's a different different kind of procrastination I spoke yeah in that curve that we had of stress and motivation versus the challenge depression is on the back side of the curve where you are a motivated and you don't have the energy and you're in a folk you are in a funk um and so there's where an accountability partner partner doing something with somebody can be helpful get help you know however, that helps looks whether it's a buddy to go for a walk with somebody is going to hold you accountable but but find some ways out of it um yeah that's not fun and and very common the other thing that keeps us really from doing what we want to do and that's what this is all about this is all about volition if we want to feel less dress if we want to be more in control if we wanna have more choice how we're spending our precious time energy and focus tohave less stress, then we need to step out of our busy nissen are distraction to do it if you want to accomplish a goal and you kind of say that at the beginning of the week and you dive into your normal week and you're keeping up with your social media and you're doing all of these other things and you're filling your calendar over and over again well that girl will be accomplished you've got to keep it front and center for yourself because it's hard work you're about to do, you are about to rewire your brain that takes some power, so if your brain is already busy, it can't do that. You've got toe actively worked to rewire your brain so you can't do it in the middle of being distracted by everything else. If somehow got to bring that front and center to what you want to dio have that re attention to your intention. So you wire up the neurons, they're going to create that pathway that becomes a habit and the first part of that takes some effort once it's a habit, it takes very little effort. That's the cool part but you want to set yourself up so that that effort pays off. I want to talk for a few minutes on one of the biggest mistakes that we make in changing a habit we rely on will power and we had a question earlier about grit and some people confuse grit with world power. I'm just gonna bear through this willpower is aa frontal lobe function it's the ability of our brain to say I am not going to eat chocolate and it's got toe override some really strong drives in my brain teo, eat chocolate. It hasn't happened if I rely on will power that's never happening will power comes from the front of your brain and we over and over think that we can just change something with willpower but it's a very limited commodity the minute you're tired it's gone it's just gone so you have to set yourself up to a win in other ways because willpower is a frontal lobe function and the frontal lobe takes the most energy in your brain it's more energy dependent so if your if your blood sugar's down if you're tired if you have been emotionally disturbed by somebody or hurt or you're feeling lonely, you don't have that energy when you're depressed you don't have that frontal lobe energy to use willpower so setting yourself up to do this just with willpower loan isn't gonna work there's this wonderful analogy our metaphor that was done by a doctor at the university of virginia's not and why you are doctor say it because they miss and he talked about that the frontal lobe is like a tiny little man who's driving a huge elephant frontal lobe is the tiny little man on top of the elephant the rest of the brain all of our reptilian brain oliver drives oliver in deep emotions our instincts are the elephant now if an elephant wants to go in one direction how much power does the little man have to control that elephant he might be a little bit stronger first thing in the morning if he worked out and everything's looking good he may be able to get that elephant to go in a different direction but that elephants gonna win every time a little human cannot dry cannot make an elephant go where it doesn't want to go and I thought this was a fabulous analogy because you're looking at you know relying on your frontal lobe to do this isn't goingto work you want your frontal lobe is engaged to always want to keep your frontal lobe happy make sure you've eaten make sure you've had fluids make sure you've had a rest make sure you've had exercise all of those things that keep your frontal lobe but strong as it can be you want to keep the little man strong that's important you actually want to think when you want to change the behavior you want to think about keeping a happy you want a love a nourished frontal lobe at the same time if you set yourself up so that your emotions are engaged the elephant is engaged in going on that path you're gonna have a lot more success and one more part of it that gonna add as we go through the habit change is if you put up guard rails to keep the elephant on the path you put up things that keep you choosing the thought or behavior that you want to choose instead of waiting for the little man to guide the elephant, does that make sense to all this concept of realising if we want to change something we have to support our brain? We just have to and we can't rely on the the little man to guide an elephant we've got to find other ways to do it and to be in touch with that to know that you know, I'm trying to change a behavior and it has been a really difficult week this is going to be hard so what am I going to put in place in the middle of this difficulty week so that I can actually do that? Just knowing in advance can make a huge difference in your success any questions on that dump more neurology on you? Well, maybe you could give an example with some specific cases let's say the sugar one her exercising you know, a couple of different areas sure, um I'll give you an example of how to change a habit, but first I'm going to give you an example of the failure. There was some research done where they um, put cookies and vegetables on two plates in a room and they gave the research students who are usually like lonely med students like, well, I was at one point I would do anything for money wade go in the room and you're given a test and you're told that you can have all the vegetables you want but you can't have the cookies but they give them a math quiz that there are no answers they give them an impossible test oh, you know these air high achievers they I think they were graduate students they want to be able to get the answers so they're frustrated and nothing we've all now learned at this point the minute you're frustrated you're stress management kicks into gear you're magdala hijacks your frontal lobe and you're not thinking as well you definitely don't have willpower so guess what happens to the vegetables in the cookies the cookies get eaten, there is no willpower, they can't they don't have the volition will strength to say I'm not going to eat the cookies because they're frustrated does that sound like life? You know we give it up when we're frustrated, so you've gotta decide you don't want to eat those cookies for other reasons you can't just do it with willpower just like erica reframed that you wanted to do something because it was going to be building your resilience just changing the words around it is huge really just changing the words changing the word from diet to nourish is massive absolutely massive when you start to think about what you want to put in place to feel nourished when you start to ask your body what it needs that feels very different that is getting the elephant the drive to nourish the instinct, that's pulling the elephant into the game, pulling emotions into the game. Does that make sense? I see some hesitation, I think conceptually from then you would be helpful, more specific. Give me if I have what you want about the you're on the diet path, so are nervous about how would you change one's eating habits? So we'll go through this as as we do this, and we can use that as an exam apple, but starting to put in place things that are visually, emotionally enticing. Having the good vegetables out there is part of it. You won't attempt the elephant, not just rely on will power, you've got to tempt the elephant to go down that path. So you want to put some things into place that are going to be tempting, you're going to do something that really evokes the emotions and the instinct you want. You want to write about being nourished? You want teo um, read some things that hold you in that space writing can be a really fabulous one for this, too, right? The why each day of why you're doing this, you want to realize that when you're tired, that's, not the time that you want to have access to cookies. Um so so you want to trick the elephant a little bit? Is that helping you at home? Okay, so it's really it's putting toe into place that, you know, I cannot rely on will power to do this? It's why a lot of, um, young moms really struggle is they start to have all these foods in the house for kids, which is changing now as we feed our kids were helpfully, but young mom struggle with with weight because they're way over tired and in the house is all of this food that they don't really want to be eating is part of their nourishing themselves, and especially if you're thinking that we're diet, which is denial and has the word die in it, it doesn't feel but it really doesn't feel good, and we'll get to some more of that as you go through your your goals that you're going to do, but I want to make sure everybody's solid with understanding, you know, just will powering through it not gonna happen now what? We've got to talk about the actual brain function, the frontal lobes said I know we talked about the cascade of chemicals overflows the other day chantal is asking does pain act in the same way as stress stuff's on your frontal lobes? Yes, because your body is registering that pain is a danger that's actually the reason we have pain because why would we have pain? I've seen people in horrible pain I don't not understand you know why people need to suffer why do we need to suffer? But the origin of pain is to alert you that there's a problem um I have chronic shoulder pain I have it from a misuse tracking sort of thing that happens on dh I've learned to reframe it into this alert that I'm doing the wrong thing with my shoulder and then I need to do some more self care that's but that's a minor painted compared to some pains are going through but my brain registers it I know that when it's hurting I don't think is well I know that I know that I also and missing it that boost of good energy that I want when I'm really peaked performing it's hard to get it when I'm in pain it's really hard um this is tied to migraines in the middle of a migraine I really don't even think well it's um so that's a good question um and even just knowing that knowing that I want to change something in the middle of the fact that I'm in pain, you can give yourself some grace and you confined you're some ways to tease apart what you want to do from the fact that your brain is making it harder to do right now it gives you some opportunity to say, you know, maybe I need to back this gold down a little bit. But if I just do five minutes of this, I'm on the path, and that feels better. I maybe I need to back the gold down because I'm in pain, but I'm still on the path. I'm still getting that hit of being successful, and that success breeds success. So that's, really important, so thank you for asking them.