Picking behaviors based on the results you expect them to yield is a logical thing to do, but it neglects perspective.
It neglects all that gooey stuff inside the maw of motivation, the stuff that’s unique to you.
And, usually, one of the quickest HAX0RZ around this paradox is to think smaller.
You can’t not (double negatives yo) do the behaviors because you actually can’t, but, rather, because you’re choosing behaviors that are too far beyond your comfort zone.
Your software that programs for risk aversion. So when faced with
- (a) Easier, safer, comforting thing
- (b) Harder, risky, discomforting thing
it’s so much easier to pick (a). And sit on the couch. And watch TV. And eat cake, chips, and cookies. And corrode into comfort.
The behaviors you’re trying to adopt are akin to walking into a lion’s den. They’re risky and uncomfortable.
perception > reality
You can’t have any pain or punishment associated with a desired behavior you want to adopt. Well. Maybe you can. But it’ll be more difficult.
So if you have behaviors identified, you probably need to break them down even further to reduce pain, risk, negative emotions associated with them.
Don’t select behaviors assuming you’re going to bring your A game to the table every single day. THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE. /skywalker
Select behaviors you can handle even when your F game shows up; I’m talking about behaviors that are almost impossible to fail.
There’s a word I love: skosh. It means small or a little amount.
Think about skosh stepping stones that’ll (eventually) take you to the top of the pyramid.
Let’s say you’re trying to lose fat. You read BWFL. You know how to lose fat. But you always fail when trying to change because you don’t like vegetables.
Instead of trying to eat a bowl of vegetables the size of your head every day, maybe you just take one bite of a carrot at lunch.
Let’s say you’re trying to get more mobile. You got through Z2B and want to improve your squat. But you can’t find the gusto to hang out (and work on) the bottom squat position for five minutes every day.
Maybe you start with: hold the bottom of a squat for 15 seconds right before I go to bed.
Or maybe you’ve struggled to take 60 minute walks every day. Maybe you start with: do ten jumping jacks at 7PM every day.
You want skosh behaviors to seem meh and not ugh. Ugh is bad. Ugh is, “I’ll flake.” Meh is just the right amount of apathy to be helpful.
There’s a bit of the Goldilocks paradox at play here. There’s an ideal soup temperature. When the soup is too cold, it’s not very motivating. Too hot, same.
why would i lick a carrot? what’s that going to do?
The sweet spot: that productive, uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp. Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it’s about seeking a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.”
Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
But I know you’re going to read this and probably overshoot and land in the lion’s den. It’s best to be conservative: choose F game behaviors that are almost impossible to fail.
I what you’re thinking.
I came all this way for this idiot to tell me to start small. Or skosh. Whatever. I wish I could punch him right in his skosh nads.
Why would I do things that won’t help my progress? Why eat a bite of a carrot every day? Would it really help me? Only ten jumping jacks? That’s not going to help me lose fat.
And, if you weren’t thinking this, now you are. (I AM A GREAT PSYCHOLOGICAL WIZARD.) I have you right where I want you.
But, for now, make some skosh stepping stones for behaviors you (eventually) want to build. You won’t. But, again, it’s one of those things I’m supposed to tell you to do anyway.