I am racking up the reads on happiness, depression, resilience and stress. There’s a definite science to better health, better body composition and better performance. For some this objective information is all it takes. Do “x, y, z.” They do “x, y, z.” They make it look that easy and bask in the results. But for so many, it’s more difficult. That difficulty can start from day one or can creep up on us weeks, months, years into our journey.
Virtuous cycle is a chain of events that reinforce themselves through a feedback loop, increasing positive results. Shawn Achor discusses it in his book The Big Potential. “Once we put ‘others’ back into the equation, and work to make others better, we ignite a Virtuous Cycle of cascading successes that amplify our own [successes].” I’m sure you noticed “others.” When we are struggling we tend to have one of two reactive, protect myself, thoughts. We may say, “How can I possibly help others when I can’t even help myself?” Or we think, “When is someone going to help me!? All I do is help others.”
In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek describes dopamine, one of our four feel good hormones, as a selfish hormone. Selfish meaning that endorphins and dopamine get us to get things done, make us feel good in order to repeat that behavior. Serotonin and oxytocin are the “selfless” hormones. Other people initiate these in us, we initiate them in others.
Dopamine is released when we complete tasks, essentially when we achieve something, anything. It’s also what we chase through our addictions. Sit down and eat that sugar, flood of dopamine. Have that glass of wine, instant feel good. The thing about dopamine is that our body adapts to levels, meaning that we must up the intensity and frequency of our preferred method. So, we eat more or drink more or spend more or work more trying to create that first perfect high. What if we focus on getting our dopamine hits through tasks accomplished?
This is where tools like “get out of bed, then make your bed immediately” come into play. Wake up, get that dopamine hit! Make the bed get another hit. Get the workout clothes on, drive to the gym, another and another. Sweat, another hit. Get back home still basking in the dopamine cloud smiling as you get yourself and family ready for the day, another hit. This is a Virtuous Cycle. One task at a time, one day at a time, you are positively impacting your life and everyone you come in contact with throughout your day. According to The Motivation Myth, written by Jeff Haden, these days add up to create the motivation you need to create big positive changes in your life. Motivation is not the necessary first step.
One task at a time, bask in that dopamine and repeat, repeat, repeat.