You gotta be prepared or tough. There are no other options in life.
Neural plasticity is on every mindfulness coach's concept cue cards these days. You are what you do. Thinking and doing things forms concrete neural pathways that, with either a lot of repetition or an emotionally impactful event, formalize and condition responses for the future. Change is about resisting those conditioned impulses and choosing, at least for today, that I will be my better self. I won't fall back on the same negative patterns.
So yes, your neurology is built for meaning-making, and it's at ease when it understands. But growth is, by definition, beyond comprehension. If you already got it, you'd already be it. And while we often think we know the things we need to do, it's more likely the things we think we know are not actually the key insights or facts that make the difference for me, here, now.
- I'm busy.
- There was a lot of traffic.
- A good friend dropped by and I couldn't just say no. That's what good friends do.
- I was too tired.
- It was just one session missed. Just one drink. Just one chocolate bar.
- I realized it just wasn't that important to me after all, and I've moved on.
- I made some progress in the right direction, and I'm happy with that.
My penalty system was simple:
- Late (even 30 seconds) for any reason but sent courtesy messagein advancetelling me they'd be late = 100 squats before the session begins.
- Late without a courtesy message = 150 squats
- If the latter happened more than once, add a hundred to that number each time.
- Missing a session but gave advanced courtesy call - zero penalty. Shit happens.
- Missing a session altogether without a courtesy note, next session starts with 400 squats.
A client friend once asked me about this, as it seemed a rather ball-busting approach to business, if not coaching. I answered - In life you gotta be prepared or tough. There are no other options. You prioritize and schedule, make space for what matters, show up early, and execute. Or...you roll up whenever you wake up and take your hits, fighting through the pain like a stubborn ass. Both can work. One creates a lot fewer scars.
He then asked me how I'd feel if someone could take the penalty, and kept showing up late or overlooking courtesy messages. I replied - the courtesy messages are eventually a deal breaker, but if courtesy is present and if he survives the penalties, then I know he'll both get the results he came for, and he's strong enough to make being stubborn a tactic in life. He'll be fine. But...I've never seen anyone make it that way.