#346 The SCIENCE of Behavioral Change

Optimize These 7 Psychological Forces

Sean Young got his Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford. He’s now a Professor at UCLA’s medical school and wrote a great book called Stick with It in which he walks us through the science of making behavioral changes stick.

He tells us that we need to work with seven psychological forces if we want to master the process of changing our behavior. And, he boils them down into the handy-dandy acronym: SCIENCE.

Stepladders + Community + Important + Easy + Neurohacks + Captivating + Engrained.

Let’s take a quick look.

  • Stepladders. Sean tells us that we need to break our Dreams down into Goals and then break those Goals down into Steps. The simpler and smaller the steps the better. Climb up your stepladder! (Think: Dominoes.)
  • Community. The science is unequivocal. One of the fastest ways to change your behavior is to surround yourself with people who’re supporting you in your behavioral change.
  • Important. You’ve gotta really want to change. Your why needs to be strong. Changing a certain behavior needs to be, of course, truly important.
  • Easy. And, it needs to be EASY! Like, super easy. Sean tells us: “People often think they understand easy, but they actually don’t.” And, he tells us there are three ways to make it easier: Control your environment (think: Play Offense Not Defense) + limit choice + make a plan.
  • Neurohacks. Sean tells us that most of us get it backwards. We think we need to change how we think to change our behaviors. He says it’s more like the As If Principle. “People need to change their actions and their minds will follow. What you’re doing is ‘tricking’ the brain into realizing that change is possible.” ← That’s a “neurohack.”
  • Captivating. Gamification and rewards are nice. But the key is to make your rewards “captivating.”
  • Engrained. How do you make a new habit engrained? Habits 101 style: Use your finite willpower to program your basal ganglia to make things run on autopilot. How? Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Stepladders + Community + Important + Easy + Neurohacks + Captivating + Engrained.

Today’s +1. What behavior are you trying to change these days?

Run it through the SCIENCE model and see how you can Optimize your chances to Stick with It!

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