The word transformation seems daunting but actually, it is quite empowering. The trick is to understand its neural mechanics and see it from our mind’s eye and not just our eyes. If we are able to make a decision to change, simply to initiate it, we are already on the way to transformation. Our next step however, is not to transfix ourselves on the final outcome, but to get down to chiseling our habits in a manner that stacks us up for sustained improvement and progress. The new set of enabling habits are the prize!
Part 1: Why Transformation is Not a Scary Word, Afterall
Transformation is a scary word, but it shouldn’t be. It is scary because we tend to focus on big outcomes and not on the little changes needed to arrive at our big goals. Take for example, the thoughts of a student trying to get a better grade in math.
Their inner dialogue goes something like this: “If I could study ALL night, even I would get an ‘A’ in Math.”
But the thoughts of ‘All Night’ and ‘A’, are too emotionally charged and daunting to even make a decision to begin, forget forging a bite-sized plan to achieve it.
So what do we do? We drop the idea altogether. We remain stuck. We are unable to initiate the change and instead spend time thinking about summoning a mystical ‘willpower’ to miraculously act on our behalf and unleash our potential!
Instead, if just assumed for a moment that transformation was not about getting the big, the ultimate ‘A’, but rather a process of steady improvement from the grade we previously received and we would take the decision to shift.
Next, we would need a new plan which would have nothing to do with an “all-nighter” and look more like this: waking up just a little bit earlier to focus on some extra prep time for Math class which we found difficult; 10 minutes more on reviewing a new concept we found hard to recall; 5 minutes on seeking help from a classmate who has comprehended the idea better than us!
This new sequence of doing habits would build up study habits that would help us build muscle to improve, and then eventually, even “transform our grade”! We could then shift from ‘B’ to ‘B+’ and then with consistent effort over a period of time, perhaps even to ‘A’.
Therefore, transformation would not look like some mysterious, before and after phenomenon (often shown in weight loss- advertisements), but rather as a ‘system of habits’ that drive improvement.
In Part 2, of this blog, we will cover much more about the neuroscience behind how habits are formed and sustained. Meanwhile, here is a short video that explains the link between habits and neuroplasticity.
With Grit & Gratitude
The Sai Shiko Team