Creating Win Scenarios

000dr bowdenI recently acquired a copy of Johnny Bowden’s book, The Best of The Rogue Nutritionist, wherein Dr. Johnny writes about habit.  You know I’m a big fan of anyone writing intelligently about habit, and that I often share what I hear on that subject here.  I’m gonna do it again today.

Note: The book is about nutrition, but addresses a strategy for developing good habits in an easier way. That is what I will talk about in this post.

In his book, Dr. Bowden writes about his belief that habit is a big part of what keeps us overweight and out of shape.  I concur.

He says that of the 5 biggest obstacles to health and well being, habit and conditioning are the worst.

He says we are beginning to be conditioned by our surrounding and caretakers from the moment we pop from the womb.

He says that our own unique combination of favored or loathed people, places, and things create in us habits that are hard to break.

Think about that for a minute.

What people do you absolutely love, or avoid at all cost?

What places have become your “happy place,” and which the abode of the boogie man?

Which activities make you tingle with excitement, shudder with dread, or salivate with the thought of a taste sensation?

Ever lay with your back against the wall, knees pulled up tight to your chest, blankets covering all but your eye holes as you stared into the a darkness that is your room?  Me, too!  Wasn’t it conditioning that made you so afraid?  I know this was my reaction to a lonely bedroom as a teenager, after staying up late, watching horror flicks.  I’m a wimp, so I didn’t do much of that as a kid, but enough to know I didn’t want to make scary movies a habit.

I’m enjoying Dr. Bowden’s book, small as it may be (it’s a teeny, tiny thing), and am impressed with his theories on habit. Early on in my reading, on page 25 of the booklet, I read this: “…when we undertake weight loss or body transformation, we need to trick ourselves into winning, at least until we’re hooked.” 

Dr. Bowden was talking about exercise when he penned that sentence, but what he wrote relates to any of those new habits we are trying to form when we begin the journey to weight reduction and a fitter self.  He went on to write about a strategy for creating winning scenarios that includes setting “preposterously, stupendously easy goals” when trying to form a new habit or learn a new behavior, like running, or dancing, or apportioning food onto a plate in the correct amounts.

Again, referring to exercise, but applicable to any new habit-forming behavior, Dr. Bowden writes, “The subconscious doesn’t evaluate big or little, but only knows success or failure.”  My take on that: If you set easy goals and achieve them, it is wayyyy better than setting harder goals and failing to follow through.

Makes sense.

I’ve been giving this advice to my friends who are parents for decades.  Example:  Don’t tell your child that if they hit their brother one more time you will send them to bed without supper. You can’t survive a tirade that goes on for hours, and a hungry kid is a force to be reckoned with, you will fail.  Better to tell Junior to go in his room for five minutes, and mean it, than to threaten something you cannot be fully committed to achieving.

My take away from this early reading of Dr. Bowden’s book:  Work hard to set easily attainable goals whenever you want to learn a new habit or condition yourself to do something unfamiliar.  Keep it simple, keep it easy, and you’ll keep wanting to win.  Your unconscious mind will register the win you’ve created and before you know it you will have developed a habit that helps you reach your goal without all the struggle and set backs that go along with a line of repeated failures.

No one wants to fail.  Everyone wants to win!

What habit are you working to develop today?  Describe your most recent win.


8 thoughts on “Creating Win Scenarios

  1. However we establish habits and for good or ill, they will run our lives. Where ever we find our motivation to be at that point of change, and make it is the significant thing. Or we can be like the government and continue to put needed changes into a new committee and study it and make recommendations and never do anything. It’s the bureaucratic way. I say make the change and then understanding comes a lot easier, if you still feel you need that. lol

    • Agreed! We need to utilize, not analyze, the plans and programs we have in place for helping us create winning scenarios. Oh, how I love to analyze–my downfall! :/

      I that Dr. B’s suggestion to start at an incredibly small goal was a good one. Some folks think they can’t begin until they have it all figured out, and others have that “go big, or go home” mentality that fizzles rather quickly.

      Love what you have to say here about making the change, and trusting that as I do, understanding will come. Bull’s eye! I may be blogging about that in the future. Interesting concept, and the way things work more often than not in life. Thanks, Dr. J. Again, I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. I have written in my blog site many times that “small acheivable REPEATABLE goals are the types to establish early to develop behavioral change.” As one develops a better level of confidence, I believe that healthy “failure” is equally important. To attempt and fail means a person was willing to reach for new limits outside of known established boundaries. This really is not failure; this is a necessary step or hurdle to overcome to achieve success. I call this PERSONAL GROWTH. Failure does not exist until we quit!
    I enjoyed your article very much. Thank you.

    • Failure does not exist until we quit. I like it!! There was once a time when I believed that if I “ended” outside the confines of my very strictly defined objective I was a failure, end of story. You could not have told me any differently. Well, you could have said it, but I would not have believed it. Then a man I hated and now appreciate taught me differently. Once my world was a contrast of blacks and whites. Now, I see the gray. Growth means trying, trying, and trying again, even if I only do what I set out to do part of the time. At least I set out…

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