Humans are wonderful at quickly adapting to new realities. It’s an ability that has been key to our survival as a species.
“The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.”
I’m fascinated by the way this plays out in our lives.
A New Season: The Old Hedonic Treadmill
This year I achieved a major goal I had set for myself, which was to run 10km. Not a big deal for some people, but a big enough deal for me. It took me just under 6 months to get from an uncomfortable 2km run to a comfortable 10km.
The hedonic treadmill was with me all the way. The increased distances would bring a spike of joy followed by a return to a stable level at the ‘new normal’.
It is only because I tracked my progress that I was able to have perspective. I could see how far I’d come and the hedonic treadmill was slowed (as I was running on the real treadmill). I used an Evernote template that Michael Hyatt provides for tracking goals.
Having ‘Key Motivations’ written above the goal that spurred me on and gave me the focus to create a new goal afterwards. We have a tendency towards more and more, rather than better.
In this episode I share 6 new ways you can approach the hedonic treadmill. By changing how we understand and relate to it in our lives we can find a greater sense of enjoyment and satisfaction.
- Track Your Progress In The Background
- Celebrate Your Wins
- Move the Goalposts
- Know The Difference Between a Feeling and a Reason
- Withhold Pleasure
- Actively Engage Gratitude
Watch the Podcast
This week I filmed the recording of the podcast and have posted it on YouTube. I’m not promising to do this every week but I’m interested to see if it is a helpful thing to do. So if you’re interested in watching the podcast you can do so here.
Over to You
Do you find yourself on the hedonic treadmill? Can you think of a time when something wonderful happened and you soon adapted to it and took the new situation for granted? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your response in the comments below.
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