Nobody likes change. Humans are also not built for change. Humans are built for habit and routine. Humans don’t like change because it comes with uncertainty, stress and the chance of failure. The things we, as humans, like to avoid.
Personally, I am so much in dislike of uncertainty that I won’t participate in lotteries. I prefer to be certain that I don’t win anything, then that I might have the chance of winning. – I might be an exceptional case in this one…
The bad thing is that change is often unavoidable. So, here is a way to handle change:
TryTheSunnySide proudly presents to you the ‘personal experiment’!
Yes – and I did not invent it.
How to define a personal experiment? First let’s dig into an experiment on itself. Wikipedia tells us:
“An experiment is a procedure carried out to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis. Experiments provide insight into cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated.”
In normal words: an experiment is to prove or dismiss a thought, an experience or something you observed, summarised as ‘phenomenon’.
In a personal experiment you are the subject of research and in that way, it is a way of self-science.
I like this concept of personal experiment a lot. An experiment is mostly done by researchers, and since I’m doing a PhD, this does match in a way. 😉
It is an excuse to try something new, it is a way of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. 🙂
Just do it
I like personal experiments, because it allows me to make mistakes, dislike something or to be a novice. I tried many different sports, like rowing, kickboxing and yoga, and also sports I thought I did not like, like running and cycle racing.
When I went to Canada for my internship, I entered a completely new world. I did use English for my studies, but that’s not the same as being among natives. I had never been away from my home country for so long. I just did it and I learned a lot. For example: my English improved tremendously and I also discovered that being close to my family is important to me.
Setting up an experiment
So, change comes with uncertainty, entering the unknown, stress and also curiosity. The personal experiment is a way to handle with these things.
The personal experiment can be used:
- To test if something is possible,
- To test if you like something,
- To test if it is suitable for you,
- And also if you are just bored and would like to have some alternation.
Currently I am involved in several personal experiments, and that is exactly why I am sharing this post, so I can refer to this one, when I’m writing about my personal experiments and their outcome.
Some personal experiment I’m involved in right now:
- Take 10,000 steps a day in S(t)eptember – curiosity, is it possible and if so, is it hard to do?
- Living in Cambridge, UK – is it hard, how will my social life look like, how do I keep up with friends and family in NL?
- Doing a PhD! – too many questions to answer here…!
There are many references online on how to conduct an experiment, here is how according to WikiHow.
WikiHow is quite elaborate, so here is a small summary. The idea is simple: you observe your current situation – also called ‘control’ situation. You change one thing for a while. Afterwards you compare the new situation to the control situation.
Example – No sugars anymore
Here is a small example about eating healthier. A way to do that is to not eat food with sugars anymore. I had often cravings and I heard that not eating sugars would help this. So I tried it for a week. Then I compared my new situation with my control situation. I must say; it did work! The downside was that I needed to say ‘no’ to all the nice treats during coffee breaks. So, I decided to eat less sugar, but not cut it completely. A woman needs her chocolate! 😉
Some tips 🙂
And here are some tips from an experienced personal experimenter (me):
- Have a clear goal in mind
- It all starts with defining the problem or change you want to go through.
- Focus on the experiment, not the outcome.
- The outcome can be a failure, but the experiment can be a success. Just like: the surgery was a success but the patient died.
- You don’t have to succeed at your first try.
- You can always try again!
- Start with a pilot
- Especially bigger experiments have more chance of not succeeding, so start small.
- Always try
- Because there is nothing you cannot try. 🌞
In the future you can expect some blogs about my personal experiments and their outcome. I will also report if I kept the change or got back to my ‘control’ situation, or somewhere in between…