In Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, the brothers Chip and Dan Heath present three strategies on how to change things:
1. You have to direct the Rider (The conscious mind). Relying on your conscious mind to self-supervise change simply doesn’t work. Conscious attention is a precious resource that is quickly exhausted when used to overcome the emotional desires of our heart.
→Study the bright spots and replicate.
2. You have to motivate the Elephant (The heart). We’re fundamentally schizophrenic about change; our hearts and minds often disagree.
→Use emotional levers.
3. You have to shape the Path (The environment). Environmental cues often have a profound effect on our behavior and our ability to change — shockingly so. In fact, more so than most of us would ever guess.
→Make change easy.
Here are some examples of the common problems that people encounter as they fight for change with some advice.
Problem: I’ll change tomorrow. Advice:
- Shrink the change so you can start today.
- If you can’t start today, set an action trigger for tomorrow.
- Make yourself accountable to someone. Let your colleagues or loved ones know what you’re trying to change, so their peer pressure will help you.
Problem: I know what I should be doing, but I’m not doing it. Advice:
- Knowing isn’t enough. You’ve got an Elephant problem.
- Think of the 5-Minute Room Rescue. Starting small can help you overcome dread. What is the most trivial thing that you can do–right at this moment–that would represent a baby step toward the goal?
- Look for Path Solutions. How can you tweak your environment so that you’re forced to change?
- Behavior is contagious. Get someone else involved with you so that you can reinforce each other.
Problem: It’s just too much. Advice:
- Shrink the change until it’s not too much. Don’t give the Elephant an excuse to give up.
- Start developing the growth mindset. Progress doesn’t always come easily–achieving success requires some failures along the way. Don’t beat yourself up when those failures occur.