Making change stick


One of the biggest learnings in my personal and professional life is the realization that if I want to make change stick, I will need to practice it in an ongoing way. Having said that, sustainable change is not often seen. It is hard and often we let go eventually, as our old patterns feel more comfortable and easy. And they are… solely because we have practiced them for so long.

So what do we need to focus on to make change stick?
Back to: we are what we practice! Which means we need to pay attention to what we practice! Unfortunately, we live in a fast-paced world where “quick fixes” are very popular. In order to make the changes we want sustainable, we need to first understand that it will take time. We need to practice something new long-term (!) in order to change it for real.

Why does it take time to make change stick?
This goes back to neuro-science and a phenomenon called “neural plasticity”. Neuroscientists discovered 10+ years ago that the adult brain is “plastic”. They discovered that the adult brain can and does change during our lives. By learning for example how to drive a car, we create a new “neural pathway” that will serve us for the rest of our lives. The same is applicable for learning new behavior. In order to make change stick we need to practice something new, in order to create this new “neural pathway” of new behavior. And the more we practice this new behavior, the more sustainable it becomes.
In short: in order to make change stick we need patience and resilience and we will achieve what we set out to do!

A nice reminder of this comes from Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”…

If you are interested in learning more about “neural plasticity”, here’s a 2 minutes video: