Part 2: Working with Homeostasis: How to Use Incremental Change to Transform Your Life
While massive goals are often appealing, they very predictably fail because too many forces fight to maintain homeostasis, or balance. Whether we like that particular ‘balance’ point is irrelevant, as nature resists rapid, massive change. We want to lose the 20 pounds in a week. We want to make a million dollars this year. We want to get rid of anxiety today!
Each such goal is destined to failure, if the change fights too strongly against the multiplicity of forces that have established our weight, our income or our emotional states. We discussed this thoroughly here. The thoughts driving selection of massive short term goals inevitably lead to failure, but they are seductive! In this week’s article, we will discuss some pathways to real change, which honor the need for gradual shifts in the complexity of forces that find us at this point in our life.
Broaden Your Scope… Of Time
Most of the massive goals are not a problem. In fact, many are healthy and awesome. However, issue is one of scope, as we are seduced into thinking some enormous intent will get us through to a major outcome in a short time frame. This is appealing, as the mind thinks something like… “Oh, I can do that for thirty days, but not a whole year. Certainly, not five years.”
However, we see that most important outcomes are not accomplished with the short burst of intense energy, but rather by sustained investment over time. This is because we do not disrupt homeostasis in a significant way, that would mobilize forces against our desired outcomes. Thus, keep the massive goal, but extend the time line based upon real world examples (and those are NOT the ones found in an infomercial). In other words, broaden the scope, so that you can get your mind wrapped around reality…and not a false hope of unrealistic expectations. In this way, we will be diligently pursuing our outcomes, without having homeostasis as our enemy. We need her as our friend.
Find A Big WHY. It Gives You The Automatic Big TRY.
The big Why. This is the secret to sustained motivation over time, for personal change. If you seek some big goal, dig deep into your why. Why this big goal…this important outcome? Don’t settle for common answers, but explore why you seek that goal. How will it improve your life, and the lives of those you love? Will you be able to make more of difference in ways that matter to you? What experiences will you get to have that you otherwise would never have? Who will you meet? What adventures will possibly unfold for you? How will you get to give more, live more and have more love and gratitude in your life?
These are important questions, and the answers must become wired into your neurology. Write down your answers, and keep digging into the emotional world that either supports the big WHY or doesn’t. When you do find the big WHY, the answers will light a fire that burns deep and long. Pull for this depth, and you discover ‘drive’ that sustains you over time.
The 1% Solution Keeps You Grounded.
One great secret in life constantly rediscovered, then forgotten it seems, is the magic of the 1% solution. One percent doesn’t seem like much. Rarely do you hear excitement about a 1% difference. Yet, what if you could invest in a business that had guaranteed growth of 1% a month, every month, for the next 30 years? Let’s up the ante: what if the stocks were guaranteed to go up 1% a week, every week, for 30 years? What if it was 1% a day? The compound value of that 1% daily is not a 365% gain, but is much more due to each 1% being added upon the gains of the past. And guess, what? Whether we choose 1% a week or 1% a day, homeostasis rarely gets involved with just a one percent change. Life seems to accept these little shifts without a big fight. We need this.
How do we apply the 1% solution to our personal lives? Pursue your goals, with the one percent solution in mind. Not 1% of the outcome, but instead we focus on making a 1% shift in our actions. In other words, a 1% improvement each day or week. Everyone can make a one percent change or improvement each week, or even daily. All you do is keep in mind that today, you only need a small improvement in your eating, your exercise, your practice of calming thoughts, your focus on love and gratitude, or any other goal. If learning a subject, you only improve your skills one percent today. But of course, it’s every day that you keep this focus.
This is the magic, to become immersed in the small, incremental gains that accumulate over time. The power of this compounded effort, brought to bear upon your big goals, will surely bear remarkable fruit over time.
And next week, in part three of this series, we will add a few additional pieces to bring it all together. For now, get excited about your big goals, by digging into the WHY and discover your big TRY. Then, it’s easier to broaden your scope, and get excited about a daily 1% better approach to life.