Ep 60: How Fast Can You Change?

Some changes happen quickly; but most significant change takes time. And it’s important that your time frame for success be appropriate to the size of your goal. Otherwise, you may not be able to see–or appreciate–the progress you are making. 

In this episode, we have some tips on how to make sure that your time frame for success is aligned with the scale of your goal.


  1. As adults, our brains (and bodies) aren’t quite as plastic as they are when we are very young. As a result, learning a new skill may take a bit longer than you expect. 
  2. Even once you have a acquired a certain facility with them, new thoughts and behaviors still need time to become the new normal–especially if they are replacing very well-worn thoughts or behaviors. 
  3. Changes that we aren’t happy with (such as weight gain or loss of fitness) often happen so gradually that we don’t notice them until they are fairly large.  Reversing them takes time too–especially in a way that’s sustainable.
  4. Sometimes the best choice is to delay setting expectations about when you’ll arrive until the journey is well underway.

Lab Experiment (download a copy)

If you feel frustrated by a lack of progress, assess whether your timeline for success might be unrealistic or out of scale with the size of the goal. Specifically:

  1. Are you expecting to master a complex skill or achieve a big goal more quickly than is realistic? 
  2. Are you expecting to reverse in a few weeks realities that took years to create?
  3. Are you expecting to root out and replace long-standing behavioral or thought patterns with just a few repetitions of new patterns?

After thinking this through, you might decide to adjust your tactics in order to accelerate your progress. Or you might decide to adjust your timeline for success to match the scale of the project. (Or maybe both.)

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