Why Change Is Hard

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Chip and Dan Heath, told us in their book, Switch, that self-control is an exhaustive resource. Fantastic! … But what does that really mean? Simply, you might desire to get a task done but the more energy & concentration you have already spent on something else prior to that task, the less energy you’ll have to focus on the task at hand. What often looks like laziness is actually mental exhaustion.

The Heath Brothers pointed out a study where when subjects had to resist freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for some minutes, they had less energy to solve difficult problems right after that. When your brain is forced with choice, it gets tired. One way to combat that is to create things in your day that don’t feel like work to you. When something is repeated, it becomes habit. Habit does not tax the brain. Maybe it’s that you get up early 5 days a week to go running or maybe you write for 30 minutes right after you get shanghai home from work, without hesitation.

Whatever it is, the key is to create a task that the brain doesn’t have to be conflicted with. When you only write once in a blue moon, each time you try to sit down and write, your body and mind are doing things that they are not accustomed to. This leads to friction. This leads to frustration. This leads to “I can’t FRIGGIN do this!”

Add some habitual WD-40 to your life. We are better off when we automate things so our brain doesn’t have to be taxed all the time with making a conscious decision. What kind of things can you/should you be automating?