What would be different about your life if you could reliably change any behavior?

We innocently asked this question in our first customer interviews. It cracked open a box of aspirations, desires, and insecurities that people usually kept hidden, even from themselves.

Helping people make change is our mission, and through Humans, this is how behavior change works we’ll share what we learn on our journey. More importantly, however, we plan to learn from you, our reader, about what has and hasn’t worked for you.

Behavior change is messy, but it’s worth the effort to untangle it. Thank you in advance for your help in this endeavor.

Part of me says that I’m set in my ways. Trying new things is costly, so I screen many things out.
If the cost of change was lower, there’d be more things I could try.”
— Noam
I would be healthier, more productive... I’d look better.
— Lauren
Ohhh wow. If you could do that... at the end of your day you can make your life look like anything you want to.
— Kevin
I have a dream of doing more with my life. I feel like I don’t have the time to do the things I want to do... This would change that.
— Alan
 

1.1

Change is Hard

We all exhibit a deep desire to improve our lives. Perhaps this is part of what makes us uniquely human. Personal change enables us to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. It enriches the lives of those around us. It enables us to rise up and make a difference in this world.

But change is hard.

So often, we set out to make a change only to find (a few months later) that we’re back where we started. For every person who has transformed their lives, there are another ninety-nine who have failed. And even for that one success story, there were likely scores of failed attempts before it finally worked.

It seems strange that our ability to change - something that holds the key to unlocking our best selves - is rife with so many missteps and so much self criticism.

Perhaps we've been thinking about change wrong...

 
 

1.2

The Origins of Humans

When starting Change Collective, we were initially reluctant to pull together our own comprehensive theory that described how change works. In hacking our own lives and in coaching other people through change, we've seen enough to appreciate that behavior change is… well… nuanced.

There are some really smart people - psychologists, behavioral economists, neuroscientists, and plenty more “ists” - who have been thinking about change for millennia, and their frameworks and theories are all compelling. Still, there seems to be no one-size-fits-all theory to bring about change in your life."

Through our experience, we realized that there are a few reason why there are many excellent, but conflicting, models for behavior change:

  • We each have a unique personality, which leads to models that work well for some people and not for others.
  • Each change is different, so the same model may work well one day, and not the next.
  • Despite decades of scientific research, clinical practice, and the great wisdom traditions of the ages, we still understand little about behavior change, and more generally about the human mind and brain.

Humans offers a comprehensive review of all of those models, a discussion of how you might apply them, and a new take on how to think about the entire process of making change happen in your life.

Let’s start by diving right into the latter...