There is something excitingly satisfying about ticking off a check box when something is completed.
When I was younger, ticking off how many days until my birthday was a popular one. Counting the remaining nights of sleep, and the number of days I diligently marked as done and dusted, was an evening routine that came with more excitement than the birthday itself. There were moments when I even cleaned my marker, ensuring that its ink would not leave me disappointed after taking off the cap.
And I had to do it. No discussions possible, no rebuttal, no bribery to hand over the marker over to my mum.
You still may be doing it. Making those to-do lists, little reminders of what’s next on the agenda. I still do it for shopping lists or daily tasks which must be done. One at a time, it still is a highly satisfying feeling when I see it changed to status “completed.”
The brain interprets this as a good deed. This simple flick of a wrist, or a tap on your mobile, sends signals to your bodily upper region that something good has taken place.
Swoosh! Dopamine is released as a reward for a job well done.
When lingering around an overdue task, it is categorized in your brain as well as something that should have been actioned a long time ago. But somehow, it has been left aside for other matters. Fine, not an issue, priorities may change, or other events in our messy lives are taking over our days.
But the brain does not forget. That “ohhh…shit, I forgot!”- moment rises above the surface with a vengeance when not jotting it down.
Over time, a Jenga stack of uncompleted tasks piles up, a negative way of seeing habit stacking arises subconsciously. From smaller tasks to more elaborate chores, things you started but dropped along the side after completing it for 50%. We are all guilty as charged. And we are not making ourselves happier when that Eureka moment of awareness resurfaces.
Getting tasks done and completed is the key.
It sounds all too simple.
The truth is often that simple.
2-Minute tasks are stretched out over days, procrastinating booms, and we are all set it aside for something else. To get those happy hormones named dopamine flowing in abundance and constantly is taking on tasks head-on. That 5-minute thing, just do it!
When clients are eager to shed some weight, I may do something similar. But unlike grilling them to reach their goal in record time, I create a variety of actions that is aligned with one’s goal. I will let you choose one that is easy to go, can be accomplished with as little resistance as possible, and is constructed on the foundation that this is one of the steps needed to go level up.
But most importantly, it is you who decide what they feel is within their comfort reach and zone.
You will tick it off.
This simple action triggers the brain to go into the flow of things. By choice, it is the awareness of the tasks at hand that will lead to a habitual change. This builds up to creating that flow state of those 1% improvements. Done consistently, and the results will reveal themselves.
With coaching, your wishes and preferences are put in the spotlight. This elevates the chances to add that “X” in the appropriate box with less resistance or delay. And with more fun as you are making the choice and standing by your decision.
Just hold yourself accountable to that what lies ahead of you.
And as much there is a to-do list, there will be a less-preferable summary of non-goal related assignments adorning your daily habits. Something we will be in alignment with once teaming up and see what fires you up sustainably.
This checked-off system may look and feel old-school, but our brain has evolved to reach optimum efficiency through sheer simplicity. It will go into temporary shut-down mode, failing to complete the task, releasing that always desirable shot of dopamine, leaving you with an extensive non-completion list of what will get you thriving.
I am going to rewind a bit. Nobody will deny that adding more complexity to our frantic lives is what we wanted or needed. It is the same with health and nutrition coaching. Modern-day age may give you the impression that navigating a maze of whatever will get you where you want to be.
The opposite is true.
I still tick off boxes every single day, because I know it drives me forward to keep that feel of dopamine flow ongoing.
If you look for complex solutions, I am not the one to touch base. Let’s keep it stupendously simple!
You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool your own mind. | David Allen