Stick with It | Sean Young

Summary of: Stick with It: The Science of Lasting Changes
By: Sean Young


Embarking on a journey to make lasting changes in life can be daunting. The book summary of ‘Stick with It: The Science of Lasting Changes’ by Sean Young provides practical insight on how to break down these changes into manageable steps, goals, and dreams. Utilizing the power of supportive communities and becoming aware of our basic human needs, readers can expect to discover how to stay motivated and form habits that will lead to success. The book also delves into the world of behavioral neurohack, linking the power of speech to shaping our identity, while putting the effectiveness of reward-based motivation into perspective.

Small Steps Lead to Success

When setting goals, breaking them down into smaller steps and short-term goals is key to achieving success. The human mind responds better to consistent rewards earned through small and frequent daily goals than to aiming for distant future goals. This theory is supported by a 2012 study on 126 overweight women which found that focusing on hitting long-term weight loss goals led to weight gain, while those who focused on short-term goals, like sticking to low-calorie food every day, were more likely to lose weight. When setting up a new target, it is advised to break it down into steps that take two days or less to complete, short-term goals that add up to complete long-term ones, and ultimate “dream” goals that take three months or longer to complete. By taking small steps, one can achieve big dreams.

The Power of a Support System

Building a reliable support system can be instrumental in achieving success, and creating or joining a community of like-minded individuals can have life-changing effects. This concept is demonstrated through Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, CrossFit, and HOPE, an online community designed to help men at risk of contracting HIV. The social magnet phenomenon, which refers to the magnetic pull that a community can have on individuals, makes it easier for people to remain committed to a shared goal. Additionally, communities offer individuals a safe platform to discuss sensitive issues they may be uncomfortable sharing otherwise. Joining a support group addresses the basic human need to feel empowered, encouraged, and trusted. By giving oneself a solid support system, the chances of success can increase drastically.

The Power of Mindful Motivation

Humans require social interaction, health, and basic necessities like food, shelter, and sleep. Being aware of these needs can help individuals reach their goals. Research shows that social interactions have a powerful effect on our behavior, just like staying warm and unharmed. Accordingly, linking goals to social programs like HOPE can be highly beneficial. Moreover, providing specific information in the context of personal relevance can be more effective in motivating people towards their objectives, like quitting smoking or saving for retirement. Psychologist Hal Hershfield’s research found that people tend to save more for retirement when they’re shown digitally altered photos of themselves that make them look older, emphasizing the aging process and its potential impact on their life. Therefore, understanding human needs and motivations can positively influence behavior and lead to a successful outcome.

The Simplicity of Reaching Your Goals

Removing obstacles and creating roadmaps can greatly improve your chances of achieving your goals. Small changes such as clearing out junk food or creating a roadmap complete with concrete steps can make a significant difference. Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men,” encourages individuals to not take the easy way out but also doesn’t advocate for taking the hard way. Creating ease through small changes can improve the likelihood of success. In a study conducted at Yale University, those who were given a roadmap and action plan alongside detailed information about getting a tetanus shot were more likely to follow through with getting vaccinated. Concrete steps and removing obstacles can help individuals achieve their desired outcomes.

Neurohacking: Simple Tips to Improve Your Life

Neurohacking involves simple behavior changes that can improve your confidence, social skills, and motivation. This summary introduces behavioral neurohacking and its effectiveness in influencing our daily choices and thoughts.

Neurohacking is a term used to describe a series of simple behavioral changes that can help improve the way you think and behave. These changes are based on scientific research, and one of the most effective neurohacks is a behavioral one – finding an action that can counteract unwanted thoughts or feelings.

For example, heterosexual men who feel anxious and insecure around women can benefit from a 12-minute conversation with women. This activity has been proven to make the men feel more confident and less insecure about themselves. Neurohacking simply means using this kind of quick and easy intervention to alter our thought processes, behavior, and emotions positively.

As with self-talk, choosing your words carefully and using speech that reflects and shapes your identity can also boost your motivation. A study on voting habits showed that people who identified as voters, as opposed to just people who vote, were more likely to vote. So individuals who want to become runners should start by identifying themselves as runners mentally.

Neurohacking is an effective way to change our thoughts and behavior, and these tips may appear too simple to have an impact. However, combining them can yield significant, long-term benefits. Whatever your goals are, trying these simple tips can give you the motivation to overcome your anxiety and make progress.

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