At some point in our lives, we come face to face with a moment of decision. To carry on as before or to make a change.
The clients I choose to work with have already reached that point in their lives where something needs to change – they want a new plan of action but don’t quite know how to get there. This is great and empowering stuff. Doing something different always presents us with different results and that is the first insight into neuroscience. Autopilot behaviour requires very little engagement as it is just that, an autopilot response rooted in our subconscious mind.
Change is another matter. When we do something new we re-engage our brain’s frontal cortex because now we need to pay attention. Remember the first time you rode a bike? Every muscle and every thought was focused on staying upright and you were 100% in the present moment.
New behaviour and new thinking are, well, new. There is no blueprint stored in your subconscious mind’s library so you don’t know what to do. Therefore, you need to be present and awake. Once you’ve mastered the task enough times it becomes the new normal and moves into the subconscious mind freeing you up to think about other things (driving, cycling, playing the piano are all autopilot stuff for most of us). This is why it is so hard to change when we first start out and also why repeating a new habit really pays off in the long run.
So what has that got to do with low hanging fruit? Everything really. Changing habits have got to be made as easy as possible. The brain likes things to be straightforward and uncomplicated. Too much abstraction and the brain switches off and reverts back to the bad old ways. So we have to start small and simple.
Want to have a rocking body Summer 2021? Work out what small steps you could take this week to do something new that fits into your life already. Can you add 20 min to your dog walk? Or try an exercise class from YouTube in your living room? You don’t have to make it hard to start off – no one likes to be overwhelmed. All you need is to take one small step in the right direction today. Then do the same tomorrow and the day after.
Start small. Start with what’s already there. Pick the low hanging fruit before attempting something bigger. That’s all.