The Science of Change, Part 2: The Law of Accommodation

Jesse Blog

According to the law of accommodation, our biological response to a constant stimulus diminishes over time.

In other words, if we stop changing our training stimulus (introduce new stress) our progress will begin to greatly slow down.

Our bodies respond to stress, read: The Science of Change: Pt. 1 The SAID Principle. If we stop increasing our training stimulus with new, constantly varied, forms of stress, then our bodies will accommodate, i.e. stop changing.

It is easy to create change when we are new to working out.

A person who changes their routine from being completely sedentary to running 5-10 miles a day will initially get better at running, lose weight, and feel great. Their bodies will adapt to the new training stimulus in a lot of amazing ways.

But, if this person continues to run 10 miles every day, with no changes in their training stimulus, the athlete’s progress will begin to greatly diminish, until their body stops adapting to running 10 miles every day.

What a waste to run 10 miles every day, to spend all that time, effort, and energy with no significant increase in your fitness for all your work!

It’s easy to see the law of accommodation apply to other areas of our lives as well.

If we stop challenging ourselves in our careers, our jobs can get kinda boring, and we can lose interest. Our improvement in our work can decline, and we lose the joy we initially had in our professions.

If we stop challenging our relationships, our relationships can begin to feel kind of lackluster. The comedian Chris Rock said it this way, “My wife loves me, at least I hope she loves me, that’s why she’s with me, right? But I still need to find new ways each day to make her like me.”

If we want to make changes in our life, we have to change our behavior. If we want to continue to grow, in any capacity, we need to constantly seek out new ways to grow. If we stop looking for new ways to grow, we stop growing.

In training this means we need variation, often by increasing the intensity of our training stimulus: lift heavier, run faster, jump higher, etc. Or by focusing on the other factors that affect our training: nutrition, sleep, hydration, etc.

For our careers, we have to explore new challenges: to take on different tasks and roles in our companies, to mentor others in our trade, to create new visions for the future of our fields, or even to change careers altogether: to evaluate our best strengths, and to find a job, or start a business, where these strengths are brought to life.

If we continue to repeat the same behavior in any aspect of our lives (physical, mental, spiritual, relational, etc) we will slow our growth in these areas.

We must continue to seek new challenges. To push ourselves to find the limits of what we are capable of today so that we can grow into who we are meant to be tomorrow.

The Law of Accommodation Self Evaluation:

Consider an area of your life where you have stopped making growth. Whether it is in your health & fitness, finances, relationship(s), professional career, recreational activities, etc. How are you actively seeking to change your behavior in these areas, so that you continue to find new growth?


Are there aspects of your physical fitness you have stopped making progress in? Schedule a Goal Review today to see where we can make changes to your training to help you reach your goals faster!