I just finished up reading a bit more of the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard and I must say it is really insightful thus far. I’ve been interested in reading this book, a #1 New York Times Best Seller, for a few months now and I finally have gotten around to doing so.
I’m about 100 pages in, but I already found a bunch of things I could share with you.
For today, I want to share with you a simple game plan from the book that you can use to help you make a change in your life, or help you influence others to change.
Since you, like many other people this time of year, may be looking to make a change in your life, I thought this would be appropriate.
The game plan described in the first four chapters includes two parts:
- Follow the brights spots.
- Give direction to the Rider.
Now, what exactly do these two parts mean?
Let’s first start with following the bright spots. The authors illustrate how big changes can be made once you find some things that work better than others. To find what things are working best you have to analyze your current situation. Relating this to the goal of getting in better shape for instance you could ask yourself the following questions:
- When have I been the most consistent with working out?
- What are the best days for me to exercise?
- What is the best time of day for me to exercise?
- What are typically my best days in terms of nutrition?
- During which meals do I eat the healthiest?
These are obviously just some questions to get you started, but you get the idea.
Through this analysis you should at least get some ideas for where your bright spots are. The authors stress that you focus on the areas you have had success and try to clone those to help you achieve success in other areas. The main idea is to not obsess about your failures.
In a practical application of this you may find that you typically eat a healthy meal for lunch – don’t be afraid to eat the same thing for dinner. Of course you can have variety, but when you really think about it we tend to eat similar meals over and over again anyways – might as well make them healthy meals if your goal is to get in better shape.
Following the bright spots is critical, but the next step is to give direction to the Rider. At this point you are probably thinking “What in the world is Justin talking about” and that is okay, because I’m about to explain that.
Through the first four chapters the authors use the analogy of an Elephant and its Rider to describe our emotional side (The Elephant) and our rational side (Rider):
First, there’s what we called the emotional side. It’s the part of you that is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure. Second, there’s the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system. It’s the part of you that deliberates and analyzes and looks into the future.
To get a more in depth description of this relationship and how one influences the other I highly suggest reading the book, but for now I think you should understand the basics.
When the authors mention giving direction to the Rider (Rational Side) this really includes doing two things:
- Setting a destination.
- Scripting the critical moves.
You have to have a concrete idea of where you are trying to get to. After you have this you can then decide on the most important moves to get there.
If you have the goal of “getting in better shape” you have to be specific on what that means and what that change will actually look like – what your destination will be. Maybe that means you will have the goal of losing 25 pounds and once accomplishing this you will fit into the same clothes you wore in high school and this will allow you to feel more energized every day and enjoy your life more.
Perhaps this weight loss could give you possibilities you never had before like hiking a mountain, running a 5K race, joining a basketball league or something completely different. Your life could be totally transformed by your weight loss – you just have to envision what your life will be like.
Once you really have that vision so the Rider knows where he is headed you’ll have to script the critical moves.
For my example of a weight loss goal your critical move could be to go to the gym every week, throw out all the junk food in your house, hire a personal trainer :), or go to the grocery store and buy only healthy foods. Whatever that critical moves may be to start you just have to get going on them.
You can control the vision you have and you can control how you start. Surely there will be challenges in between, but you can overcome them as you go knowing where you will ultimately end up.
I hope this post will help you make a change you want in your life or someone close to you.
Have a great day!