As a director of the UCLA Center for Digital Behavior, Sean Young has a pretty packed schedule. But the award-winning psychologist somehow finds time to write books, travel, give interviews, spend time with loved ones and stay in shape.
It’s all explained in Young’s “Stick with It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life-for Good.” The book is a guide for streamlining your life and crossing both big and small goals off your list.
“People will keep doing things that are easy for them to do,” Young told me. “If you want to get yourself or others to stick with something, make it easy.”
Young shared with us two main tips on achieving goals, the easy way.
Control the environment
If you want to make things easy, create an easy environment.
If a person wants to make time for daily meditation, turn the phone or other devices off to avoid distractions. Without these other options to watch TV, respond to a text message, or check email, people will be more likely to stick to their plan to meditate.
People who want to find a long-term romantic partner should stop searching for other potential partners once they’ve found someone who has potential
When I worked on campus at UCLA, I used to exercise at the gym on campus. My office later moved to about a mile south, off campus. The gym was then about 40 minutes away by walking, and not very accessible. I stopped going as frequently. A person looking at my behavior from the outside, who saw that I stopped exercising, but didn’t have the context to know why, might have said that I stopped because I got lazier, or that work got more difficult.
The reality was that my environment changed. I responded by changing my environment. I started bringing a workout bag to work, and chose a new gym across the street. Now I can’t walk to my car at the end of the day without passing by the gym while holding my gym bag. And I go to the gym about five days a week.
Limit choices – Including in love
The fewer options people have for doing something, the more likely they will be to do it. People who want to find a long-term romantic partner should stop searching for other potential partners once they’ve found someone who has potential. Constantly having choices makes it harder to commit.
Snack On This:
Watch Young’s talk at Google. Young talks about his digital day of rest per week (from Friday to Saturday), but also how his brother’s near death experiences inspired him to study about what motivates people to stick with a lifestyle change.