Success and Step Ladders
I thought I'd write again on something a bit more esoteric that helped me gather the motivation and courage to recover from my brain injury.
Psychology research scientists have proven time and time again that the human brain is impatient. This widely evidenced phenomenon underlies the psychology of drug addiction, gambling, and why we often find ourselves devouring the entire cake when we promised to only have one slice. Without being too reductive of the complex neuroscience at play here, dopamine is the critical neurotransmitter which determines a large majority of our daily decisions. However, one interesting caveat is that the anticipation of a reward promotes a higher dopamine response than receiving the reward itself (except in the instance of stimulant narcotics, but that's a different story). Anyways, with that background, here's a little lesson on steps, goals, and dreams that positively influenced my life.
Defining a few important terms here to start:
- Dream: something which will take 3+ months to accomplish
- Goal: something which will take 1 week to 1 month to accomplish
- Step: takes less than one week to accomplish
The broad, simplified idea is this: "dreams" are attained when we have the patience to piece together a composition of small goals, which can be broken down into their constituent parts (the steps). This is scientifically sound: a dream, for many, is overwhelming. "I want to get ripped like that guy David Goggins" will quickly turn into "are we getting pepperoni or sausage on the pizza tonight?".
"I'm going to be David Goggins by Friday" is not realistic, but maybe running a 5k by the end of the month is? That's your goal. What are the steps you need to take to achieve that goal? Well, buying a pair of decent running shoes is a good start; that's a step. Running 1.5 miles on the treadmill? There's another step. At the end of the month, you've trained a few times a week, incrementally adjusting your steps to reach the goal and, boom, you cross the line at the 5k. However, your dream has not changed - you still want to be the next David Goggins, so what's your next goal? Half marathon? Well, David Goggins probably doesn't eat a lot of pizza, so how about we change the diet a little too as a second goal. This iteration of codependent behavioral changes is what will help you reach your dream.
If one person reads this and does this exercise with success, this will have been a damn good day for me. So, think: what behavior of my life do I want to change? What's a goal that I can use to influence that change? What are the steps? Write that shit down and tape it to your door.