15 – Breaking + Creating Habits to Reach our Potential with Heather Fox
In this episode we tap into the power of habit to create more of what we want as a person, in our lives, in our community. If we are the sum of our actions, then how are we intentional about the ones we want in our lives, and how do control, alt, delete the ones that are no longer serving.
Joined by Heather Fox, behaviorist and founder of Techpawlogy LLC, she shares just how.
Heather works with a mix of mechanisms such as science and technology to change behavior in animals and their humans. She believes that being a lifelong learner in understanding patterns/systems is the key to reaching our full potential in creating positive changes within ourselves and within others.
We unpack how to do this for the tiniest of habits and go onto to stacking this into the life or grand vision that you are seeking to create.
Get in touch with with Heather Fox through Techpawlogy on instagram or her website.
Also contribute to the Aurora Blue Aggression Initiative, by using Venmo to Techpawlogy. Your donation, provides individuals with an aggressive animal, access to a behaviorist, enriching the lives of the pet, the owner and the community.
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*This Transcript is Autogenerated
Hey there and welcome to the HiHelloSura show. I'm your host, Sura Al-Naimi on this show. We are digging deep into. What it means to discard the habits that are no longer working for you and to redesign your life in a way where you're incorporating the behaviors that you want. More of, we are joined by the glorious Heather Fox.
She is at behaviorist and founder of tech. Pureology. She works with a mix of mechanisms, such as science and technology to change behavior in animals and the humans now have they believes that being a lifelong learner in understanding patterns and systems is the key to reaching our full potential in creating positive changes within ourselves and within others.
So within the show, we are going to dive deep into how to redesign, drawing on the mechanisms of understanding patterns so that, hopefully you can incorporate some of these learnings into the months and years to come. So without further ado, let's dive in
welcome to the show. Thanks for having me . Heather this topic I know is dear to your heart. And this is one that I am so excited to learn more about, and it is the topic of forming new habits.
Can you pick it up for us for the audience and for myself? Absolutely. in the realm of psychology, it's the study and changing a behavior. So what I noticed very early in my college days at university of Florida, as I was majoring in psychology, and I was trying to go towards animal behavior and I noticed all the classes I was in were for human behavior.
And as I started working with animals, a lot of people that I was working with to teach them how to teach their animals, it was helping their lives. And if you learn very quickly that it's the same thing. It doesn't matter if you're training a beta fish, which I have done, or a child that you it's all about behavior itself.
You can think of it more as a dialect. So we're all speaking language, but there's a little things that might differ. Amazing. So this topic comes up for me, when I think about, any new initiative that we're looking to bring into our lives, or, we have the sherds, And then they stay shoots and like real change doesn't happen. Can you like talk to us, I'm so curious about this beta fish example as well, but can you talk us through, one of the newest learnings that you had most recently, in a way that makes sense, chronologically, so let's break it down into two sectors and I'll ask you to, Come with me on this journey because there's always a beginning before we get to our present.
And then there's the future, of course, but the two forks in the road are going to be stopping a behavior we don't wish to be doing, but then moving forward is how to create a new behavior. And a lot of people, they don't realize they focus so much on the behavior. So a lot of times we think, Oh, if I want to be more fit, I'm just going to work out more.
Or they say, I want to stop watching TV. I'm just going to hide the remote. and they don't realize that it's all real. It's the process. It's the systems of behavior, the underlying needs. That is the importance of it to focus on. So it's not so much when we look at how to stop a behavior versus create a new behavior.
It's the same system. So let's focus first on how we got here, which is changing a behavior we don't want. And then we'll move forward into how to create something new because in order to create something new, we have to know what tools we're using and we have to know how to build. I don't know, a lot of people, maybe some of your listeners can relate to if they were ever in the situation that they wanted to understand how something worked.
So they took it apart. So that's something that, we can maybe relate with this. So starting off with having a behavior, you perhaps don't want, whether it be as extreme as smoking or perhaps scrolling social media for too much screen time or eating late at night or whatever it may be. So instead of focusing on the behavior and getting upset that you're doing it, I do recommend that you then this tape, this is not easy.
I say this, and I want to make a quick distinction. Some things are simple, but they're not easy. If we say I want to look great and I want to feel great and I want to be in perfect shape. It's simple. Count your macros and exercise. Now as we know that we can count our macros and we can exercise, but is that easy is going to the gym five days a week.
Easy. Not so much so simple and easier different. So a lot of these concepts I will talk about people will go, Oh, that's easy. Don't beat yourself up. It's not easy. It's simple. We get it in theory. But to actually do it is quite difficult. So let's go into that. So if you're looking at a behavior that you don't want to do, you have to identify why you're doing that behavior in the first place.
And this is not common knowledge. One of the ways that you can get in tune with this. My highly recommend for people is meditation and meditation, I think has become a much more accepted and much more, recognized form of changing one's relationship with their mind these days. So for, I'd say more for the right brains, I'd go for something along the lines of Headspace.
I think that's a wonderful app. for more of the left brain, I would, consider Sam Harris's waking up at they're both wonderful, but as we know, some were more in the realm of orders of, or more in the realm of chaos. We're trying to meet in the middle. So if you're on either pole more left-brain Sam Harris more right.
Brain is going to be like the meditation app of. So with that said, when we're trying to identify this, there's something called noting. Now, when you note something and you might have a thought or a behavior and you just note it. So every time let's take one example, every time I pick up my phone to scroll Instagram, how many times have we said, okay, done with Instagram, we put her phone down and maybe 90 seconds later, we are looking at our phone again.
And we're going, how did this happen? And where are we? Just all the social media and then we're back on it another minute. So we note, we start to go into that process of being aware. When I pick up my phone towards social media, what am I feeling? What is the feeling I have? And you don't have to solve the puzzle right away.
Just note it. Oh, and then you might find in my case where I noticed, because this is a habit that I have deeply, diminished, which was, which I'm very happy with. But every time I was on Instagram, I noticed I was, subduing anxiety. So if I felt anxious, I found myself scrolling through Instagram to get that quick little dopamine hit.
Now, it wasn't apparent at the time, but if I just, by noting, I picked up my phone, I go, Oh, And once you notice it, once you say it to yourself, a lot of the times that's all it takes is that if you keep noting and you keep noting that you pick up your phone and you go, Oh, I don't really want to be an Instagram.
I'm just feeling anxious because I haven't got a text from this employer or something of that nature. So by noting that you might be able to set your phone down and say, I'm going to deal with this a different way. Now we'll get to that. Nope. Say, put a placeholder, cause then you have to go forward and how to create the new habit.
But for step one in changing and habit, it's noting, why am I doing this? What is the underlying feeling? And I have my favorite example, which I think is a little odd, but something I found myself doing and it wasn't until somebody else pointed it out. Was I able to point it out. So for during this pandemic, a lot of people now find that they're working from home.
Thank you. We can all relate to that. Yes. Yes. What I found was I was in the kitchen a lot. So I was cooking a lot and I'm fully able to meal prep. I know very well how to do that, but I, it just so happened to anything I had readily available. I didn't want, so what I noticed, is I was, it was pointed out by a dear friend of mine.
She goes, every time you're always in the kitchen, you're always in the kitchen. And I was like, I'm not always in the kitchen. And then I noticed, Oh wait, actually yes I am. And what I noticed about it when I started doing my noting is it was every time I had a large course load or a large amount of work to do, or I was starting a new project on my computer that I got this need that said, Hey, you have to eat.
You have to go make something. And it was a way, what I noted was I was not actually hungry. I was needing a break from my work. So in my mind, if I were to tell myself, Oh, I just need a break from my work. I need to go lay out in the hammock or take a walk or do anything like that. That wasn't something I found that was I D I wasn't finding that to be okay.
Or I couldn't justify that. What I could justify was everybody has to eat. So I'd go into the kitchen and make food. No, it wasn't bad food. It was healthy. So it was extra justifiable. So what I started to do is when I got that feeling of, I need to go to the kitchen, even though I had just eaten, I would think, why am I doing this?
Oh, I'm stressed out about starting this new document. I was stressed about starting this new program for this client. So what I was able to do is identify that it wasn't because I was hungry. It was because I was trying to quell that anxious feeling from that new project. Now, sir, I will have you think about this.
Most people, if you focus on the behavior, I want to stop going to the kitchen and eating food. That might be a little different on how I approach that, correct? Oh, absolutely. I'd be like putting barricades electrocution walls.
The course of action is all wrong because we get focused on the wrong thing. And that's the behavior itself. The way I can describe this is the behavior is a symptom. If you put a bandaid on a rash, the rash is a symptom of a deeper underlying behavior. So it's going to pop up somewhere else just because you can't see, it doesn't mean that it's not existing and it will spread to a different part of your body.
And this way, if you are putting a quick fix or a stop on a behavior, That. And you're not addressing the underlying cause the behavior. Why am I doing this? then it's going to pop up in a different way and you're going to feel defeated. So that's one aspect that you can do, which is called noting.
And then another way you could think about it is called checking in. This is something that I had done in the animal world when dogs are very confused or they're getting upset and you're walking them in the environment. What we require for them to do is to check in with the humans. So as they're distracted looking around, they'll all of a sudden look up and go, Oh, hi.
I remember you're attached to maybe at the leash. What are we doing? And with that, their anxiety went down because. They were able to ground themselves and check in and say, okay, what are we doing? what are we doing in this walk? So the way I relate that now is when we check in with ourselves, you can say, Hey, what am I doing?
What is my goal here? And how am I feeling? That's one of the most excellent ways that you can start. Yeah, this really, when we had that conversation, maybe it was a couple of weeks ago. I started to notice my social media and, also when, in the middle of the day, I'd put a program on and I was like, what are you?
And then I started to notice that I was like, what is it that you really want in this moment? And I was like, actually I just really want some company. Yes. And so I was like, Oh, okay, I'm looking for, a lightness or some humor in this moment. And that's just super helpful. And sometimes it was like, yeah.
Okay. We'll watch the show for 20 minutes. but other times there were other things available to me.
And what would be an example of something that was available to you? getting, getting on the phone to a friend for a moment or maybe listening to a podcast that, had some sort of element of conversation. I was just, I was looking for conversation to be around me more than actually necessarily needing to engage with somebody.
So just like those nuances was super helpful, That's very interesting. You say that. And that's actually, one of my go-tos is now as I listened to a podcast, because then you're filling your brain and your mind, and you're training your mind to find comfort and find company. In voices of wisdom or are you find these new characters in your life, your new, unknowing mentors.
So that's a great way to put it. Yeah. The other thing I would say, in wrapping up the how to solve a current behavior is going to be identify the bottleneck. And that's a fancy way to say it's a narrow section that impedes traffic. What is that choke point? That is, we call it, maybe identify our weakness.
Is it that you are trying to find a distraction? Any distraction we'll do, but this is the one you conditioned yourself to. So once you're able to note, what am I feeling? Why am I doing this? Then note your bottleneck, where do I get stuck? Where am I going to, what am I'm filling in? That I don't want to, suppress this.
So with that, when you identify the bottleneck, you're able to see, Oh, for me, it was food going to the kitchen for somebody else. It might be it's social media. For somebody else who might be calling the partner, which you think would be good, that could be good, right? Oh, you call your partner or your best friend for advice.
But if you get too reliant on this choke point, what happens when you're now calling them? Because cause then you're not identifying that choke point and you're not realizing that it is. A covers that band-aid again, so it can be used as one method. But the great thing is once we find a good system, there's multiple tools we can use.
And it's nice to have multiple tools because sometimes if you've only known how to build a birdhouse with a hammer and nail, what happens when you can't find a hammer, right? Absolutely. Yeah. It's going to have a diversity of solutions and to your point, and we do this a lot in creativity. But being able to identify the nugget, like what's that need, we have more flexibility in terms of our solution making, so we use the example of the safe space panel a lot, Oh, we need a space pen.
So then, okay. You get the pen. But if it's like a, we need something to write with. Then all of a sudden you have that need identified. Then it's a pen, it's a crayon it's, sparkles. It could be so many different things. Our goal is to heal a lot of things.
okay, so this is okay, so this is awesome. So this is the bottleneck and then noting and checking in. So I feel like you're about to tell us like, like we're shifting into something else now. Yes. So with that said, Once you've identified your system. Now you can say I'm doing this because I feel anxious.
I'm doing this because whatever it is, I need a break. I'm doing this because I'm feeling lonely. I'm doing this because I have low self esteem, whatever it may be now we've worked well. And we've identified the bottleneck. We've identified the noting, behavior. Now we want to move forward now that you know your system, now that you have your tools, what do you want to build?
So here's where it can get. Very complex but fun. And this is creating new behaviors. Now I will go ahead and say again, there's a couple things that people should realize it's not easy. It takes sacrifice. And the best way that I can relate this to people is building new behavior. Is there is no shortcut.
The shortcut will leave you with a very low quality behavior that breaks down at some point. Now think about investing. This is making use of an attribute such as time. We often think of it as money, energy, whatever you want to call it, but we make use of this time, money and energy for future advantage or for future benefit.
So if you're making use of this time, money and energy now, and you're putting it aside for later, that is the definition of sacrifice. You're going to have to sacrifice what you want now in order to build it. Now, the other thing with investing is if you do it correctly, you can have exponential gain. So the things that you're sacrificing now are going to be so much better for you later.
So an easy way to think of it, that about this is working out. It might feel painful to get to the gym. You might want to do that, but then in the long run, it's not going to be beneficial for you because if you skip the gym and you skip that short-term pain, you're not going to have that long-term benefit of being healthy.
So that's where we have to make that sacrifice. Now, also, what we want to think about is that we have to shift perspective. So learning to love the pain, learning to love these sacrifices are going to be an essential part to changing new behavior because you're going to have it, that it's going to happen.
So if you've already gone onto this journey of, I accept that this is going to be difficult. I may as well enjoy the pain. And I think that, Mark Manson said it very well where he said, you have to pick your pain. There's going to be paint no matter what you do in life, pick the one that you can enjoy.
So for athletes, it's going to be going to the gym five days a week. They enjoy it. They love feeling sore the next day. For me working with animals, there's times that the animals don't do what they supposed to do. There's going to be times that, they growl at you or that they do something wrong or they rip up a couch.
Or if you're working with a big cat, they might not shift into their enclosure or whatever it may be. But for me it becomes not a, it becomes a pain that I go, okay, like this is a part of the job. So then I continue doing it. So when you talk about picking your pain and loving your pain, part of my brain is I don't want to love pain.
So can you like, is that, what I'm relating to is because I understand what the pain is in service of. That kind of creates a shift in perspective. Are there some reframes that could be helpful for somebody because they're like, no, I don't want pay. No. So think of it this way in life. Anything worth having is going, we're going to have to work for, or have sacrifice for.
So when you're changing a behavior, you want to create a behavior. give me an example of behavior and I'll talk about, let's talk about the reframing of that pain. like not snacking at night. Okay. So not snacking at night. What is the pain there? You don't get to enjoy that endorphin release of eating that food, correct?
Maybe you're a little, you get a little hunger pain, cause you're used to eating that. Maybe you get a little anxiety because the reason that you're snacking is because you're anxious, right? So those are the pains that you're going to have. Do those sound really bad to you? Does that say, it sounds it's not as bad as it sounds, right?
It sounds lovely the way you say it, but that's the example is the pain. Is relative. If the pain is not having the endorphin rushes sugar, the pain is a little hunger pain from not eating that cheeseburger or whatever it may be, or not being able to quell the anxiety through food. Now, by accepting that pain you're able to have, that's the sacrifice.
That's what you put in. I'm willing to not have those little short term blips, but in return you get a magnificent return. So then later on when you're not snacking at night, that's where we go into, what is the benefit? What is your, why? Why do you want to stop snacking at night? Because if you don't have something that you're working towards, it's going to be very hard to give up those short-term benefits.
And it's going to be very hard to accept those little pains. If you don't know what you're working towards. And there's something that's called loss aversion. And that is where we feel a loss and a much higher proportion than a comparable gain. So if you lose a hundred dollars, you feel that so much more than if you gain a hundred dollars and that's been proven that's us as human beings.
if we feel that loss, then it is going to be a lot harder to keep going on creating that new behavior, unless you have a big enough why or a big enough gain. And that goes right into the endowment effect. And the endowment effect is $50 that we've earned. Is worth a lot more to us than $50 that is given to us.
So if we earn this behavior and we keep taking these little losses, then we're going to have a completely different momentum. So now it's going to be something that's very rewarding to us and we're not willing to give up and I'll throw a little plot twist in here when you've created that momentum. The next time you go to reach for that snack.
That is a loss you are not willing to take now, because if you go for that midnight snack, you've gained that momentum. You've gained that satisfaction. You gain that identity as somebody who sticks to their program. So then when you get that craving or you get that anxiety, then you're going for that snack, you will feel that loss 10 times greater.
If you go ahead and snack, but you have to work up to that momentum. That's really helpful, actually. Yes, I like this, okay. So then we have the sense of loss. What next? So let's see. So let's think about this and you've art. So now you've. You've had you've broken over that curve. You felt lost when you've had to, Oh, I can't have that snack.
Oh, I'm losing a little bit of sleep. I just want to sleep for 10 more minutes. So let's go ahead and take a different example because this is one that some can relate to. Let's say we want to build the behavior that you want to start being on time. So maybe some people have a hard time with being on time.
So let's go into that. What, where is the bottleneck where what's creating that system of you not being on time? Is it because you're hitting snooze for an extra 10 minutes? And because you hit snooze for an extra 10 minutes, it makes you feel that you get more rested. So now you've identified and you want to create the new behavior.
Now you have your why. Why do I want to be on time? what's the point? Why it's so comfortable being in my bed. So then you're going to say, okay, I want to be on time because I feel like it will better my life. And it will show people that I value their time and I want to better my relationships and better my professionalism.
So now that you've built this framework, when you're in bed and your alarm sounds, and you go to hit the snooze for 10 minutes, you can now check in with your body and you can say I'm tired, but I have to get up. I've agreed with myself that I'm going to get up. I've made an agreement with these people that I will be here on time.
If I press news. Am I okay with. With making somebody else late and showing them I don't value their time is me getting a little bit of satisfaction now worth more than this goal of showing somebody else that I care about or somebody that's important to my business that they're valued. So sometimes the answer is going to be, yes, it is worth it.
I was up for it. I feel like I do need an extra 10 minutes of sleep, but then you can rest with that decision. You can actually note it for what it is. I've made a commitment, but I am willing to be selfish in this moment because I feel I am more important and this is more important to me. So when you go and you go to be late, It's more of your decision now?
It's not because there was traffic. It was not because, there was something that happened. You don't make an excuse. You now chose to be late. So it's a different framework of your identity. Now, then what you can do is if you say no, if you can say, okay, am I okay that if I press news, I will be 10 to 15 minutes late to my meeting.
Your mind might say, no, you won't just go to bed. You're like, Nope. If I press snooze, am I okay? That I am making myself 10 to 15 minutes late with my meeting. It's now you're at a point that you can say, no, I'm not okay with that and get up and you get ready and you make it there. And that's going to be momentum that is built.
So this is, this sounds I'm just imagining myself with bed, like half awake. So there's a lot of conscious, there's a little consciousness, there's a lot of being present to moments and a lot of checking in, are there aspects that we can perhaps automate knowing that, like in a half dose state, like the, there's an aspect of my brain that might take over and say, you definitely need to stay here.
so that's one question. And then the other thing we've been talking a lot about. wait, now we're shifting into before it was like away from, so I don't want to do this. I don't want to do that now. We're shifting more into, towards motivations. Like I want to be on time. I want to get to my desk and do my writing.
I want to complete that course. is there any difference in how we, meet those shifts or is it exactly the same thing? So the way it's the same system, whether you're taking something out or putting something in you. So if you're taking something out, what do you do have to fill and put something in?
Correct. And if you want to put something in, you're going to have to take something out. So essentially, yes, that part is the same. Now. I'm going to go through a couple laws of something that we call shaping. And this is for shaping in, behavior is how to, if you think about a big ball of clay, Or you are going to be the Boulder play.
How do you shape yourself to be more like that image that you imagine? And, please stop me if I use any terms, I'll try to make them as simple as possible. So the first one is going to be step one. If you want to shape yourself into a new behavior, set a criteria in increments, small enough that you have a chance of reinforcement.
So set criteria in increments, small enough that you have realistic chance of reinforcement with. So what that basically is saying is if you are trying to be on time, don't try to wake up an hour earlier. Set yourself up that you can, if you're going to just be 15 minutes closer, maybe you're still a little, maybe now you're five minutes late instead of 30 minutes late.
That's still reinforcement. You're now five minutes late instead of 30 minutes late. And instead of saying, Oh gosh, five minutes late. Why can't I just be on time? This is where you have to shift and say, look at how far I've come. That is such a huge, development for me. And you just keep doing that.
Keeping five minutes late, keeping five minutes late. And then once you're consistently five minutes late reassess, you're not 30 minutes late anymore. That's huge, then reassess. Okay. what do we have to do, to get this last five minutes? The other thing that I was going to say, when you asked your question on what can we do when you're in that half sleepy state?
Set yourself up for success. You know yourself, once we've identified, you say, okay, my bottleneck is when it actually comes time to being in bed. My sleepy self says, Nope, I already might. And you might even say you might, your finger might hit that alarm and you didn't even, you realize it set yourself up for sec success.
Have your outfit ready, have anything that you would usually. Say, Oh, it's too much work or that's going to take too much time. Have your outfit ready? Put get one of those alarms that it's called a clocky that if you use that alarm, it will roll off your desk and you have to chase it to turn it. Oh, that's so funny.
Whatever it may be. It's that's where I can't say it's one thing or the other, because it's going to be different from putts for depending on the individual. But what you can do is find your bottleneck and find out this is what's holding me up. So why was 30 minutes late now I fixed all this. Now I'm five minutes late.
What's keeping me back from that five minutes and let's find out what that choke point is. Then you can continue forward, but you've already built this momentum. Another way you can do it is you can, you can attach it to your identity. That's very strong when you're now looking at your identity, when you are sitting there in bed and you say, am I the kind of person that is going to.
Devalued someone's time by being late. Is that what I want to think of myself as. So now you set your self up for success. You have your alarms running around and you have to go chase it. Now you're awake. You're you've now moved yourself past that very dangerous red zone where your sleepy self takes over.
So once you've moved yourself there, then you can move on to the next conversation. Yeah. I'm thinking of even putting my Nespresso machine right next to my alarm. We'll do that. I've actually done that where I've set my cup of coffee. I wake up and the first thing I did was chug it. I don't drink coffee anymore, but when I used to, I would chunk the coffee right away.
So then within a couple minutes, I was like, Oh wait, look, I'm up another way. People might not think of what if you're not getting enough sleep. That's deeper. That's a whole nother issue. You're going to find, if you try to create a new behavior, you're going to find all these little things, pop up. If things are good, you saw you address one thing.
And the next thing pops up. It's called unpacking me, unpack a lot of things that might be holding you back for this ultimate goal. And that's why we go back to simple and easy. So if you're sitting there and you haven't been getting enough sleep, it's going to be very hard for you to get to places on time.
Cause you're you want rest, your body's taken over. So maybe you're going to have to start going to bed an hour earlier. Maybe you're going to have to stop drinking at a certain point. So your body gets rest more rest, maybe start taking magnesium. Maybe you're not, you don't have a good diet, but you're going to start finding these little things as you start unpacking, as you start create trying to create a new habit, you're going to find these points that would never come up otherwise.
And you're going to become. It was a consistent unpacking. It's like you, you go to do something and then something else comes up and then you're tracking back to Oh, okay. it's it's obviously it's like an untangling, like when you've got one of those necklaces and like you're trying to yes, absolutely.
And then you tell yourself, I cannot wait to see what this necklace looks like. I must wear this necklace. So that's what you're going to do when you're going through that. Okay. I have to untangle it to get there. So we've got incremental. yes, that was number one. Yeah. So they were getting that reinforcement.
The other one we mentioned was identity. So I, so that was a side on the criteria. So for actually number two, so first one was set criteria and increments. The second one is train yourself on one part of the behavior at a time. And that's what we count. That's the official. And that's where we talk about.
Untangling that's your own tangling. So train yourself on one part of the behavior at a time, you can't change your diet. Go to bed an hour earlier and make sure you're not hitting your snooze alarm. All at the same time, tackle one piece at a time. Then you're able to, it gets that reinforcing boost, and then you can go onto the next one.
Okay. Now I'm five minutes late. Why can't I get past this five minutes? Oh my goodness. You know what? I don't get enough sleep. That's the next piece you start tackling. Now you're going to try to go to bed earlier and keep it small. So when you're doing so when you're finishing one and you're onto the next one, focus on that next one.
Don't get overwhelmed by the fact that you have 20 little by little incremental and one at a time. That's number two, step three is stay ahead of yourself. Know your next step in case you have a breakthrough. So that's where the plan comes in. What is my overall vision? Why do I want to do this? So let's say now you're what if you now have your on time right away.
What's next? Do you want to be early or are you good with being on time? What if you get that major breakthrough? You have to be ready. So then you're not falling into Oh, okay. Now I'm good. Now what's your maintenance plan. So have a full plan. Before you go through this, because if you do a breakthrough and the way I can describe this is when we're working with dogs or any animal, you have a plan and sometimes you wing it, you'll be like, Ugh, this dog will never do this.
So then you will ask for behavior and they will nail it. And they're looking at you like, okay, what's next? And you still have an hour to work with them. now they're going to lose faith in you because they're like, you've got nothing to teach me. I have, you have my attention now. What. So your body will do the same thing yourself.
We'll do the same thing. You're going to be going through these processes and you'll be like, okay, now what? Oh, I don't know. And then you're onto the next busy-ness in your mind. So stay ahead of yourself is the third one. amazing. And how do you know which, when you say tackle one piece at a time, how do you know which one to choose?
So that's where you go back to number one, this smallest increment that you can feel reinforcing. The smallest increment that you can continually be reinforced on. So if going to bed at night is really hard for you because you have all your friends call you, then are you, that's your unload time or that's when you love watching your Netflix series, maybe you start with doing, putting your, setting your alarm up and just getting up earlier, or you could do it flip.
Maybe getting up is really hard for you. So you go, you know what, I'm just going to try to get up early and you're going to go to bed earlier. Then by going to bed earlier, you get that system down, then you can start trying to wake up earlier. Does that make sense? it does everything has it's like an ecosystem, right?
It isn't, that is such a good way to phrase it. That is, it is an ecosystem. And instead of people getting afraid of that, just it, that's where we have to think about the beauty of these systems, the beauty of the fact that we can have all these factors and features and how they fit into each other.
It's very encouraging because you can fix a small piece and it can actually trickle on to other parts of your life and make it better. Yeah. So I know I noticed if I, so for me, a big shift is being super intentional with my time. and so if I'm super intentional with time, then when I ask for time for others, that intent follows, cause that clarity, seeps into, personal and work life, which I've really been enjoying.
A lot, that's it. But I had to stop of me fast, like what do I want to do? What am I doing with this day? What am I doing this week? and then from that space, like getting all of a sudden, the blinkers were off and then they really surprised how there was such a lack of people being intentional, So I do think there was like a retraining for myself. And for others. And then also noticing the people who are super intentional, Oh, I see you. That's what you were doing the whole time. Once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you become present, maybe what you just want to be there for your family.
If you're there for your family, more than maybe you start to want to become there for your friends more. If you're there for your friends more, maybe perhaps now you want to be there for your community more because that sense of presence and helping others starts to shift to other parts of your life.
So that's one of the ways that you're going to see these, this ecosystem. I'll finish up with the last two for you here. And we can unpack it a little more if you'd like, but yeah, the fourth. So the fourth one is going to be, if a behavior deteriorates, go back to the beginning. So say you're getting real.
You're doing really well. And you're, you've now got yourself down to on time. You're on time. You're on time, then something happens. And now you're back to 10 minutes late and you're 10 minutes late again. You're 10 minutes late again. Don't go back to the beginning to the, to those easily reinforced steps and build yourself back up.
Great. So that's very important. basically think of it is get your wins. And so you can build that momentum up because as the thing about momentum is once you lose it, you have to build it again. And that's okay. But once you build it rolls, it keeps going. And then it's harder to lose because if you slip up one day, you've got a working beautiful system that keeps you going.
So if you're a person who's on time all the time, and you're late one day, who cares? You built this reputation. You've you're late one day. They give you the benefit of the doubt. Did they not? Oh yeah. So that's the beautiful thing. You build this reputation, you build these behaviors and you have that momentum.
A bad day is not going to throw you off. It's just going to be a blip. The last one on it. And just to piggyback on that, I think just giving yourself permission to do that. I can speak for myself that when I've had, consistency, and then all of a sudden I didn't do this thing, and I knew that I should have done this thing and like, why didn't I do this thing?
and then it's okay, that's okay. let's just start again. Yes. And that's where every time that people get frustrated, every time you're changing behavior remembers simple, not easy sacrifice and pain are a part of the process. Now remember sacrifice and pain sound really bad, but as we went through, it's not as bad as it sounds.
Everything we do has a cost. The cost can be small. The cost can be large, but if you do little things correctly in the beginning, You're going to have a much better life later. If you do a bunch of things, if you cut corners and you try to take the shortcut all the time in the beginning, you're going, you're not going to have a solid foundation.
it will crumble on you later. The final one we're going to do is end on a high note for, with yourself and quit while you're ahead. So if you're doing a really good job and you're on-time and you're on time, don't jump up to a very big piece and make a huge change and go, Oh, you know what? Now that I'm on time, I'm going to quit drinking completely.
And I'm going to wake up two hour. I'm going to go to bed two hours earlier. You're because you build this beautiful momentum. I w what you're going to have to do is end on that positive note, keep that system going for a little bit, so you can get into that routine, then you can start onto the next thing, but don't jump.
and on a high note and quit while you're ahead. Oh, that's so powerful. So those are five rules of shaping a new behavior, and it's all based on positive reinforcement training. I love the ability to transfer this from, wild cats, horses, dogs, humans. Yeah. We're all different. We're all the same.
We're all animals, but we're just have a, again, different dialects.
So Heather, what about when we think about what you're talking about with very explicit behaviors, but when we think about, a grand vision, like I have this goal, or I have this semblance of what my future self looks like, so how do I start to then build in the habits or the steps? Do I basically have that grand vision and then backtrack into increments?
Like, how does it work? So when you think of a grand vision, I want you to think of it as a set of goals. So the beautiful part about this is once you've learned how to change a behavior, it's like learning math. It doesn't matter if it's two plus two, or if it's three plus one, the answers for, because you know how to do math, if you understand behavior and how to change it doesn't matter what the next behavior is.
You're going to be able to dissect it and build it again. So what I think people don't realize is they want to hold this idea of a grand vision in this tight little box that this is my grand vision. And to get this grand vision, I have to know step one to step 10. That's not a treasure hunt. That's not the journey.
So the beautiful part about a grand vision is going to be, if you have the why and you start somewhere, your mind is going to be. It's going to be aligned with this vision. This is your constant Y so you're going to complete one and you're going to go onto the next, and it's going to reveal itself.
You're going to be revealed to the next step. So it unfolds naturally. That's the way of life. We're not going to have. All of the answers. It's going to be revealed as a treasure hunt, that if you get your one treasure, it gives you the hint to the next, you have to unlock these levels. So with that, it's going to be a matter of, if you're on the right track, you're going to see growth.
If you're on the right track, you're going to see growth and more opportunity if you're on a track and you're not seeing growth movement and opportunity, and you're not closer to your grand vision, you might be on the wrong track. And that's where you can say, Oh, I got to shift this a bit because this isn't working.
So that's how you know is you're going to start working on something then opportunities, things in life are going to open to you that have not before. And then you get closer and you keep shaping it closer and closer until you look back and you are that vision. You are that person, you have that dream.
So just remember some people get it flipped. They say, I want to make a million dollars. When in reality, it's by serving the world by serving the community by serving my family, by serving myself. You then become rich and you, then all of a sudden you're a millionaire because you've been doing the right things.
You don't become a millionaire to do right. Things. You become the millionaire by doing right things. And you had talked about, what am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? And what do other people want, as a potential formula for unlocking am I on the right track? Oh for that is that's the answering.
What is the grand vision? The why? And that's where a lot of people and this was from the book mastery. And this is where it says that it's often a sub-sector of what I am passionate about, what I enjoy doing and what I'm good at and what people find value in and how I serve others. So you find that sector.
Now a lot of times we can start off with this vision of what we want to do and what we're good at and what we enjoy. But then throughout life, we find that maybe we fall into a different category and we become really good in that field. So instead of it being one or the other, you can combine them.
You can say, this is what I'm passionate about, and this is what I'm good at. So I'm going to cross those two to bring out the best. So you're going to become your best self so you can serve others. Wonderful. Great. I was like where we kept the bacteria. That was like, I was like, Oh my gosh, how did we start recording?
What have you got today is when you guys are recording today? Yes, we are doing the Wolf Wednesday and then have a couple virtual sessions with some peppers. So excited about that. That's always a lot of fun for me to do. It's fascinating when you can teach people, quote unquote, dog math. So they understand what we were saying.
If it's like math, once you learn how to do it, you can apply it. So I call it dog math. Once you learn how to teach dog behavior, then you're going to know how to apply it in different dog behavior. So we teach that virtually and it's been a really cool because people can't fathom the fact that they could learn dog behavior over their phone.
But all it is teaching them how to understand behavior and understand their dog. That's so exciting. I know that's been a really big shift in your business. Not for me. No, I was doing this six years ago, but everybody was telling me that it was crazy. Like why would anybody do virtual dog training?
That goes in my name technology. I was doing this way before the pandemic, but everyone just didn't see the utility in it. So now they finally, yeah. Now they do
it. Wasn't that you were ready to do it, but your market wasn't ready. That's what we mean. Yeah. And this constraint, quote unquote, has accelerated what you were already ready for. Absolutely. And that's the one thing I've learned about computers and computer science is that constraints can actually accelerate and grow things as well.
So we think straits is bad, but even in dog training, by giving dogs, parameters, boundaries, constraints, that's where you see them thrive
That's amazing. Thank you so much. Have a, so how to have people get in touch with you? for me, it's going to be technology.com. And, you can also go to Instagram, Facebook, all at technology, and that's like technology, but with Paul.
So that's a really good way. We also are doing a brand new initiative if people want to be a part of, and it's called the Aurora blue initiative and what it is people can, Contribute to our efforts. And what that means is if you, contribute money towards Venmo technology, that we will donate it to people who have aggressive dogs or cats in the community, but can't afford to behaviorists.
And the goal with this is that. If we start treating aggression at the base level, it's going to make our community better because aggression, aggressive dogs that people have that might attack another dog, or it might be your neighbor that's scaring your child or whatever it may be. So what we have found is that if we can, a lot of times with behaviorism, people never asked for an aggressive dog, you inherit one.
And it's something that's very scary and that gets, so little compassion. People say, Oh, you need to fix your dog, but it's actually very expensive to do that. So this initiative is a way for the community to give back and to help each other, by creating a more safe, loving, and connected, base with the human and animal relationship and community.
And the way they can do that is they can donate to, Venmo at topology. That sounds absolutely amazing. Absolutely spectacular. I will put all of those in the show notes and thank you so much. This has been just jewels and jewels of wisdom and, through all your research and live, experience and all these different scenarios.
So thank you for sharing. It is my absolute pleasure. It is nothing in the world. I enjoy talking about more. Thank you so much for having me.
listeners, thank you so much for joining the show. And as I always do, I will have Heather's information in the show notes. So please do not hesitate to reach out to her to get more of her wisdom and get her help with any challenge that you might be facing. If you enjoyed the show, please rate us on the powers that be.
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Until next time. I'm your host Sura Al-Naimi. Thank you for joining. See you next time.