Stick With It - Sean Young

Stick With It - Sean Young

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes  

Stick With It

“People have trouble making lasting changes." 

"They quit nutrition plans, don’t adhere to medication regimens, and can’t keep New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or stop procrastinating.

"The advice offered up by recent bestsellers?"

"Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before insist that the secret to success in both your personal and business lives is to develop good habits. Yet they base this on just one study suggesting that habits account for 40 percent of behaviors in life and work. So what are we supposed to do about the other 60 percent of our behaviors?"

"Conventional wisdom also fails to solve the problem. It tells you the answer is to change who you are. If you want to stick with your fitness goals, learn to love exercising like Richard Simmons. To be a successful entrepreneur, become a creative genius like Steve Jobs. If you want to be a good salesperson, morph into a social butterfly like Mary Kay Ash. And the list goes on for people we’re told to become like."

"Changing your character is easier said than done: every individual has a core personality that doesn’t change much throughout life. Fortunately, you don’t need to change who are as a person to make change last. You just need to understand the science behind lasting change and how to create a process that fits who you are. That’s what this book delivers.”

Making lasting change through process..

That's what we're going to learn about today!

Sean has brought in some amazing scientific principles and studies in the area of behavior change..

But what I really love about this book is that it's in an easy to remember - easy to action process!

More about that process in the next point in the mind map.

But before we get started..

Let's check in!  Where are you?

Are you the person who's tried to change their habits multiple times without success?

Are you the person that's tried to become someone you're not just to accomplish a goal?

Are you the person who has kind of just stopped trying because you haven't been successful in the past?


This book is going to be helpful for you no matter where you're starting..  

Understanding behavior change can help stop you from banging your head against the wall!

It's not you who's been failing to make lasting change, it's your process and the system you've created..  Sean is going to give us a new one!

 7 Forces

“I deliberately use the word forces instead of principles because psychological forces are constantly pushing and pulling people to make different choices." 

"These forces determine what people do and how they feel. They create emotional, chemical, and neurological changes. One set of forces might push you to sit on the couch, pour a glass of wine, and turn on the television. Another set of forces pushes you to put on a pair of running shoes and get some exercise. Which action will you take? Whichever one is pushed harder by these forces."

"But you can get these forces to work for you. You can think of these psychological forces as akin to the physical forces that affect inanimate objects. To fly a plane safely, engineers, pilots and flight crews need to be aware of all the forces—such as wind and gravity—that push the plane down, lift it up, and shift it from side to side. The more that they can harness these forces to work in their favor, the more likely it is the plane will fly the way they want."

"I describe the seven forces of lasting change, one in each chapter, using a framework I call SCIENCE. I call this SCIENCE, not because you need to be a scientist or doctor to understand and apply it, but so that you’ll remember that these forces are based on thousands of validated, peer-reviewed, scientific studies.”

SCIENCE and the 7 Psychological Forces of Behavior Change..

1. Stepladders

  • “Science shows that people have a better chance of success by focusing on small steps.”
  • Instead of focusing on the DREAM you have we need to focus on the next step up the ladder!

2. Community

  • Humans are social creatures by nature!  Creating or finding a community with common goals is important for lasting change..
  • As always 'you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with'

3. Important

  • Pretty self explanatory..  Change is hard!  In order to be motivated to do hard things they need to be important to us!
  • I really love connecting to our Ikigai here and suggest you go and check out my book review on that!

4. Easy

  • This is explored in depth inside my favorite Habit book Tiny Habits..
  • Basic premise?  Things need to be STUPID SMALL if you're planning to make them into a habit.

5. Neurohacks

  • "Social psychologists now know that the truth lies in the opposite direction. People need to change their actions and their minds will follow. What you’re doing is ‘tricking’ the brain into realizing that change is possible.” 
  • This stick out most inside of Atomic Habits for me where James talks about Identity and becoming the type of person who does what you want to do.. 

6. Captivating

  • People tend to stick to things that they are being rewarded for..  
  • Captivating is all about making your rewards for doing the habit fun/exciting to keep you going!

7. Engrained

  • “The human brain yearns to be efficient. It is designed so that people use the smallest amount of effort or thought to do things.”
  • This force is connected to repetition.  The more times you've done something the more difficult it will be to NOT do that thing!


“Stepladders is the theory that brings together dreams, goals, and steps."  

"Stepladders teaches that dreams are important for motivation, but focusing entirely on dreams can lead people to plan steps that are so big that they quit doing things early. Instead, goals are key. You need to focus on completing small, concrete goals to calibrate the mind and apply stepladders correctly. That will make change more likely to last."

"It’s important to understand that stepladders isn’t a formula for accomplishing dreams. It’s a formula for keeping you on the path. People who use stepladders are less likely to quit and more likely to keep trying to reach their goals—which should in turn help them reach their dreams.”

Bring your dream into the moment..

That is what stepladders are all about!

  • Sure it's great to start with a big wonderful dream (Important) but a dream in and of itself isn't focusing enough..  
  • Instead we need to dedicate ourselves to bringing small steps down into our day to day lives!

What does the stepladder process look like?

  • Step One: Start with a dream!  What do you want to accomplish in the somewhat distant future?
  • Step Two: Take that dream and break it into goals!  What small checkpoints along the way will let you know when you're on the right path?
  • Step Three: Synthesis those goals into daily steps!  What could you do today that will lead you toward the goal which eventually leads to the dream?

How about you?  Try the stepladder technique.


Step One (Dream):

Within the next 3 years I want this YouTube channel to be reaching a Million people a year!

I also want this channel to be something I can do as a full time endeavor along with my coaching business..

Step Two (Goals):

Hit 100k Subscribers on YouTube and 25k on Email.

Put out 13 masterclasses teaching people principles learned from books.

Step Three (Steps):

Each day I will work on the YouTube channel and coaching business for 2 hours.

Those two hours should be deeply focused and not distracted. 


“The psychology behind easy teaches that we need to retrain ourselves." 

"Making something simple and easy is smart and will help people stick to things."

"More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle said, ‘We may assume the superiority ceteris paribus [other things being equal] of the demonstration which derives from fewer postulates or hypotheses.’ In other words, the simplest idea is usually the best."

"Throughout the years, many philosophers and scientists—like Ptolemy, William of Occam, and Isaac Newton, as well as contemporary scientists—have said something similar. So if the smartest people agree that simple is better, it’s time for us to listen to history and stop trying to make things so difficult.”

The simplest ideas are generally the best..

Why then do we often come up with complex plans for ourselves?

  • Most of the time this is because we THINK that we'll be able to stick to the complex plan!
  • We're making the plan when we're highly motivated and not planning for when we're highly unmotivated..

Don't plan for your best self plan for your worst is the basic premise behind making it easy..

  • Not everyday do we feel like working out for an entire hour!  But everyday we can probably talk ourselves into 5 pushups..
  • Some days after those 5 pushups we'll continue and do 5 more, and 5 more and maybe the whole hour workout!  
  • Other day's we'll simply do the 5 pushups, pat ourselves on the back and get on with out day!
  • Why does easy work?

Easy works because it can be done EVERYDAY almost no matter what our motivation level..

Plus it's connected to our second E which is engrained..  Meaning we can do it everyday

Other ways to make things easy:

  • Control your environment!  Don't have distracting apps open or available, don't have junk food in the house and get some home gym equipment.
  • Limit your choices!  If you're constantly having to make decisions it drains your energy.  Make a decision once and stick to it!
  • Create a roadmap!  This is a simple plan or a checklist of when you will do what and where.


“Conventional wisdom has it backward: lasting behavior change doesn’t typically start with the mind telling the body to make lasting change; it starts by making a small change in behavior and letting the mind reflect on that change."

"Self-identity is a key part of this process. People often decide whether to do something based on how they think of themselves. Will you finish writing a blog post or stop and have a cocktail instead? Will you push yourself to run another ten minutes or call it quits and walk? Will a person keep sober another day or give in to temptation and have a drink?"

"The answer depends in part on how people think of themselves and what they’ve done in the past in similar situations. If you usually keep writing a blog post until you finish then you’ll probably finish this one instead of stopping for a drink. Part of the reason is that it’s become routine for you. Another big reason is that by finishing your blog posts you have formed a self-identity that you’re a ‘closer.’ Your past behavior shows that you complete your work before taking a break, and you need to remain consistent with that self-image of getting the job done before you play."

"Similarly, the answer to whether a person sticks it out for another ten minutes on her run or keeps sober another day depends on how she thinks of herself after looking back at past behavior. If her past behavior signals she’s a fighter, then she’ll want to maintain that self-image and stick it out and fight.”

Whoever you think you are is generally right..

A big part of the behaviors we do day to day is reinforcing how we see ourselves! 

  • Do you see yourself as a healthy and fit person?  Then you're more likely to exercise..
  • Do you see yourself as a hard worker?  Then you're more likely to get work done..
  • Do you see yourself as someone who can't commit to exercise?  Good luck.

Conventional wisdom then says 'see yourself as who you want to be' which isn't bad advice..

  • But it's not exactly as imagining yourself as the type of person you want to be!
  • Identity needs to be hard wired into our brains..  Meaning that you need to take actions!

The entire process of accomplishing your dream will turn you into a new person..

  • Each time you take action towards your desired outcome you get a little more sure you're the type of person who can accomplish it!
  • The process of seeing yourself taking action towards your dreams is how you begin to change your identity..  Even if it's a small step at a time!


“If you look back on your past experiences you might think you’ve failed at changing." 

"Maybe you failed at learning a new language or sticking with playing a new instrument. Maybe you failed at getting people to buy a new product or technology you created."

"But don’t worry about what happened in the past. It’s not important now. We know it’s possible to replace old behaviors with new ones. 

"What’s important today is not what you experienced in the past—forget that—but that you now have some clues and processes so that the next time you try to change something you’ll be more likely to stick with it."

"Engrained is a powerful force to help you do this. If you want to get yourself to exercise every day, determine a time you’ll do it (tomorrow), set an alarm or reminder, and follow through. The more you stick to it, the more it will become engrained in your brain, and the easier it will be for you to keep doing.”

Behavior change is like a snowball..

The more you roll it (maybe even down a hill) the more snow it picks up each time!

Meaning that everytime you change a behavior or stick to one of the step you've created..

  • The next step or behavior gets easier!  
  • Meaning it's either more likely to stick or that you can choose to attempt more difficult ones..

What we're doing with engraining is using our willpower wisely.. 

  • Roy Baumeister talks about this in his book Willpower!  
  • Essentially we want to use willpower to make things easier the next time we want to do them..
  • Installing good behaviors that will eventually run on autopilot!  vs ones that we need to constantly manage..
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