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    Changing habits: the boiled frog technique

    Who I am
    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    wikipedia.org

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    A simple technique to change habits and establish new ones in your life.

     

    "Habit is the best teacher in all things."

    Pliny the Elder.

    To change your life, sometimes all it takes is change habits, establishing new and better ones. To change habits, sometimes all you need is… a boiled frog!

    So here's a practical technique for you easily form new habits.



    The boiled frog experiment

    The boiled frog phenomenon dates back to research conducted by John Hopkins University back in 1882.

    During an experiment, some American researchers noticed that throwing a frog into a pot of boiling water, it inevitably jumped out to escape. Conversely, by placing the frog in a pot of cold water and heating the pot slowly but steadily, the frog inevitably ended up boiled.

    I can already imagine your horrified expression… yet this experiment describes exactly how our nervous system works too.

    Whenever we try to upset our life overnight, our brain, like the frog in boiling water, desperately tries to return to its comfort zone, canceling our every attempt at change.

    Result? Frustration!

    On the contrary, to achieve lasting change, the only really effective technique is to introduce small changes, but constantly.

    In the short term, these small changes are imperceptible to our nervous system, but in the long term these small steps will allow us to achieve huge transformations.

    Practical applications of the boiled frog technique

    You can apply the boiled frog technique to any new habit you intend to establish in your life. Here are the steps to effectively form a new habit:



    • Visualize the finish line. When you decide to start a new habit, you need to have in mind the goal you want to achieve. Define your goal clearly and objectively.
    • Give yourself a deadline. Decide how soon you want to start the new habit. Remember: the more gradual and steady the journey, the more ingrained the new habit will be in your life.
    • Take the path in reverse. Starting from the deadline you have given yourself, imagine all the little steps you will have to take to get to your destination. Try setting weekly milestones. Don't forget: “Rome wasn't build in a day”. Do not be in a hurry, on the contrary, if you think you can do more in the first days, limit yourself, keep the enthusiasm of the beginning for the difficult days, because there will be some.
    • It just begins. Stop planning - start taking action. Think about what could be the first gesture to establish your new habit and ... start boiling your frog!

    As mentioned, you can apply these principles to any habit, but if you really want to trigger a radical change in your life (without jumping out of the pot), you need a method to guide you step by step.



    You must know that one of my focuses in recent years has been precisely the study of the best methodologies for changing habits.

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