Do you have Goldilocks Syndrome?

Porridge Bowls

“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream.”

~ John Maxwell

Too Big, Too Small, or Just Right - Why Size Matters.

Recently, I was reflecting on a comment that Brittany Smith, a cognitive scientist with ADHD, made about habits that reinforced something I had already realised.

If your ‘habit chunks’ are too small, you don’t see any change and give up.

If your ‘habit chunks’ are too big, you get overwhelmed and discouraged.


If your ‘habit chunks’ are just right… you get results that keep your motivation high and find yourself kicking goals week after week!

I see this frequently with my coaching and training clients:

Right habit chunk size = SUCCESS

Wrong habit chunk size = FAILURE

So, how can you know if you’ve picked the appropriate chunk size for each of your habits?

Signs that Your Habits Chunks are Too Small:

Habit chunks that are too small are usually related to pre-existing habits in any area of our life. We all have habits that drive how we act and react in every area of life and these are so much a part of us that we are hardly even aware of their existence.

The beauty of these tiny habit chunks is that when we decide we want to change something we can simply expand the habit we already have in place no matter what it is.


Sandra was extremely frustrated because she was trying to grow her referral program and couldn’t get the traction, she wanted so she started looking around for yet another tool or strategy to help her.

When we looked closely at what she was doing to generate referrals it was clear that she didn’t need to start over, she simply needed to amplify her existing referral strategy with one additional step. Once that was in place, the referrals started to flow.


It happens in every area of life:

  • Exercise programs;
  • Diet & nutrition;
  • Learning and retention;
  • Budgeting and saving;
  • Productivity…

If you feel frustrated with the results you are seeing and know that your strategy has worked for other people, then you can often see the transformation you want simply by amplifying the habits surrounding it.

If Your Habits Chunks are Too Big, Then...

…You’ll probably quit before you see results!

Oversized habit chunks are usually part of a new habit that you’re trying to establish to reach an important goal. Many habit-tracking apps will alert you if you consistently miss your goals and suggest that you edit the habit in order to succeed and you should pay attention to these alerts.


Al read the book Shorter and decided that he wanted to restructure his workday and test the hypothesis because the idea of accomplishing more important work in 30 hours than he was currently doing in 60 hours appealed to him.

He plugged the habits he wanted to establish in order to accomplish this into his habit tracker and got down to business… only to discover that day after day he was failing to check off half of the components he’d identified.

When we pruned those habits back to a smaller milestone goal and he was accomplishing them all, Al’s sense of accomplishment and confidence grew and he was soon ready to add another chunk to his habit, and then another.

The habit of success motivated him far more than his failures had and now he does have all the components of that original habit chunk in place.


When Your Habits Chunks are Just Right, Then…

Like Sandra and Al, you experience success – not just in achieving the outcome, but in the personal satisfaction of accomplishing a goal. This gives you the same kind of dopamine hit that some people get from checking Facebook, the news, or drugs.

Skipping your habit one day isn’t a disaster, but looking at your week and realizing that you’ve skipped more days than you’ve executed creates a negative neuro-feedback loop that actually saps your motivation to stick to your habit. That’s why you want a habit tracking mechanism that allows you skip days that you choose to without giving you a sense of guilt.

Contrary to popular practice, guilt is a terrible motivator. It’s when you feel good about your accomplishments that confidence grows – and with that confidence the ability to achieve even more.

Habit Transformation Challenge

Habits are such an important aspect of building lives and businesses that serve our goals. Habit-creation tools are one of the most powerful aspects of NLP because once established, habits run on auto-pilot and enable us to progress towards our goals faster and with less friction.

At LifePuzzle, we consider habit transformation so important that it is a part of many of our courses and trainings (both paid and free) including:

  • Periodic 5-Day Habit Transformation Challenges
  • NLP Mastery Academy Group program
  • NLP Certification courses
  • Confident Conversion Sales Academy
  • Outsourced Sales Manager and In-House Sales Trainings

If you are interested in our habit transformation resources, fill in the form below and we’ll let you know when we are running our next course.

I’m Interested in Habit Transformation

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