Pavlovian Conditioning

You can train yourself just like you train your dog.

Sound and Scent Triggers. The concept behind creating a trigger is simple.  It is a form of classical conditioning (think Pavlov).  If you have ever trained a dog, this should be easy to understand. With dogs, it can take just a handful of repetitions for them to associate a stimulus- like a bell- with a reward- like a treat.  Clicker training is based on this concept.  Smart dogs will make the association within 3 or 4 repetitions. Humans are equally easy to condition, and it is nice to know how to use it effectively on yourself to modify behavior.

Classical conditioning links any neutral trigger (word, sound, scent, other) with a response.  In this case, your goal is to link a track of music or a scent with beginning a studio session. Do this repeatedly, and your resistance to getting started vanishes the minute you hear or smell the trigger.

Use the same album, playlist, or meditation music every time you enter the studio.  Light the same incense or candle.  Doing this repeatedly, as improbable as it may seem, it will get easier and quicker to get into the flow.

The more you use the triggers, the more “charged” they remain.  No doubt you can identify triggers that remain charged years after you have used them.  (When I hear a certain ringtone that I used from 2008-2012 or so I feel stress, even though I haven’t used it on my own phone for 7 years or more.)

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