We all seek change in our lives in one form or another—whether we want to improve our parenting, our exercise habits, or become more productive, we all want to activate our brains and create new results. You might be able to identify an ideal end goal, but do you know how to hack your brain to make the path to change easier on your brain?
You might already know today’s guest Ryan Levesque as the author of the bestselling book Ask. Ryan is an entrepreneur, CEO and digital marketing expert, and has a brand new book out called Choose designed to help people start their businesses successfully.
In this conversation, we talk about how the brain tries to protect us in the face of change. We’ll explain the power of micro commitments, and how to create tiny steps for yourself to create a path to success and achieve the changes you’ve been looking for.
HOW BRAIN RESPONDS TO CHANGE
- The brain responds to change as a threat, whether the change is negative or positive
- The brain’s job is to keep us safe and preserve the state that we’re in, so change can elicit the fight or flight response, meaning we flee, freeze or fight
- We can learn to hack the fight or flight response to influence and improve our life
THE HACK: POWER OF MICRO COMMITMENTS
- A lot of Ryan’s early decisions were driven by fear, and he went on to study the psychology of fear
- Ask yourself the question: what is something I can do right now in the direction I want to go that is so small it is literally impossible to fail?
- Example: if you want to run and tell yourself “I’m going to go for a 10-mile run”, your brain won’t let you do it, will flag danger and find excuses for you not to go for a run.
- Instead, try an impossible to fail step like saying: “I’m going to take one step towards my running shoes.” It sounds laughable, but of course, you can succeed at that step.
- If you want to make a change or move in a certain direction, ask yourself how you can shrink the size of the step and turn it into a micro-commitment.
- Once you’ve taken one step you’ll want to take two, then another, and before you know it you’ll be thinking: “I can actually do this thing.”
- You can apply this concept to anything—whether it’s something like running, reading, or writing.
- When people think about reading a 200-page book, it can set off their fear response. Try reducing it to smaller steps, like opening the book and reading one paragraph at a time.
- Applied to writing: step to your keyboard and type one keystroke. We can all do this! This can help to create muscle memory and remind yourself that you’re capable of. One sentence becomes a paragraph, which becomes a page, and before you know it you’ve completed the thing you were dreading for so long.
KEY IDEA: MICRO COMMITMENTS FOR CHANGE
- Key idea: use psychology of micro commitments to make change in your life and to influence your market to do the things you want them to do when they land on your website.
- Ask them to take micro commitment steps, rather than big threatening steps that will make them abandon your site and say “I’ll do it later”—because later never comes
- Micro commitments can be applied to parenting, or to create change in your own life
- If you’re a parent you could ask your child to clean their room, but this might be too big an ask, so instead, you can try: “Can you pick up one toy? Can you put it in the toy box? Now can you pick up another toy?” Before you know it, the whole room will be done!
- What’s an area of your life right now that you’ve felt this resistance?
- What’s an example of a step you could take right now that would be impossible to fail?
SHARE WITH US
- Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@jimkwik & @askryanlevesque) and share your ideas for micro commitments with us!