Change Isn’t an Event, It’s a Process

change messages Jan 26, 2011

I spend a ridiculous amount of time on airplanes, which allows me the opportunity to read more than I have a chance to at home. Every once in a while I'll read a fiction book, but most of the time I'll pick up something that has to do with business and/or psychology. I'm a big fan of Made to Stick written by Dan and Chip Heath (they work with Stanford and Harvard) and they recently came out with a new book called Switch. How to Change Things When Change is Hard.

Switch talks about how you can make positive change both personally as well as an organization by speaking to your rational mind, your emotional mind, and tweaking your environment - how you can make the right behaviors a little easier and the wrong behaviors a little harder. I've been reading the book through the lens of how to help my clients make positive change when it comes to eating and exercise, and how it enhances their resiliency, performance, energy and health.  Based on their data on how situations and environments can shape our behaviors, I began making a list of things that could be done and thought you might be interested.

Again, this is only one part of change - you've got to have the right motivation - but what if you started doing just one or two things on this list? How could they set you up to successfully make lasting, positive change? How would these changes affect your energy? Productivity? Resiliency? Health?

  • Get rid of your large plates and eat meals from smaller ones (salad size). Research shows we'll put less food on our plates, but not feel as cheated.  When we put a small amount of food on a large plate it looks pathetic.  And  we feel deprived.
  • Drink alcohol or caloric beverages from smaller glasses. Same premise as above.
  • Don't eat out of boxes or bags. Instead of mindlessly eating more than you intend, portion out a discreet amount food.
  • Get rid of your remote control. If you need to change the channel, you're going to have to get up to do it.
  • Unplug or remove your TV. We spend way too much time being sedentary - find something else to do or connect with loved ones.  (Bonus: you're exposed to fewer junk food commercials that make you start jonesing for a little somethin' somethin' you may not need.)
  • Lay out or pack your workout clothes the night before. It removes at least one barrier in the morning.
  • Lay out Hit the Deck™ cards in an obvious place. (Shameless plug.)
  • Get rid of your office chair. Create a simple standing workstation or make rules for when you have to stand: all telephone calls, while writing reports or when checking email.

Change isn't an event - it's a process.  One aspect of successful change is to tweak our environments and create positive habits.  What's one thing you're willing to Switch?

10 Micro Strategies to Boost Your Energy & Resilience

Instead of reaching for that candy bar or cup of coffee, here are 10 QUICK & EASY WAYS you can increase your energy and resilience by changing your chemistry and physiology.


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