By February 27, 2012 8 Comments Read More →

4 Scientifically Proven Strategies To Make Change Happen

4 Change StrategiesGet out of comfort zone and move to where all the great things happen. Take few friends with you along the way too.

It’s easier to say than do. Or is it?

In the book Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success the authors offer prescriptive strategies that were scientifically proven to work and help change happen. There are basically 4 key strategies that focus on crucial moments, vital behaviors, 6 sources of influence, and good data. I decided to test it and make a personal change – lose weight applying the strategies. I was able to shed 3 Kg (~6.5 lbs.) last month, and I am now on the monthly sprint to shed another 3.

Strategy # 1: Identify Crucial Moments

The authors write:

“When it comes to personal change, you don’t have to be pushing yourself to the limits all the time. You need to focus on only a handful of moments when you’re most at risk.”

Since it relates to time I decided to make it simple and set time boundaries when I should not eat carbs rich foods. I decided to stop consuming carbs rich foods after 7pm. This is how I motivated it: carbs are fuel needed to generate energy to move my body. When I am not active I don’t need carbs. I am least active in the evenings and when I go to bed. If I consume much of carbs but never use it, it will turn to fat. That’s it, as simple as that. No carbs after 7pm – this was my crucial moment.

Strategy #2: Create Vital Behaviors

The authors write:

“Once you’ve identified your crucial moments, our next task is to create the rules you’ll follow when temptation pays you a visit. … you’ll want to set specific rules (not vague guidelines) that guide you to act in ways that eventually lead to what you want.”

One rule I made was very clear – no carbs rich foods. It’s pretty hard to resist the temptation and I wanted it to be also fun vs. torture, so I made a distinction what carbs rich foods mean. It was anything made of flour, crackers, cookies, bread, snacks, rice, potatoes, and related. Another vital behavior was mentally marking my pantry as a red zone. Any time I was instinctively approaching pantry to grab a snack I was putting myself on alert. It usually ended up with couple of raisins or an apple being taken away from the pantry..

Strategy #3: Engage All 6 Sources of Influence

The authors write:

“Having identified your crucial moments and vital behaviors,you now have to develop a change plan to get yourself to recognize those moments and engage in those behaviors… The only reasonable way to battle the wide world out there, which is so perfectly organized to keep you making the same mistakes, is to use all six sources of influence in combination.”

The 6 sources of influence are:

  • Personal Ability. I felt I could easily do it. 
  • Personal Motivation. I had personal motivation as just a challenge and also wanting to get into my perceived normal weight.
  • Social Ability. I posted about the no carbs after 7pm sprint on Facebook. Few people reached out to me offering their insight how to cope with the situation and be more effective and successful. I picked few insights that helped me.
  • Social Motivation. M friends – those on Facebook and in real life started to talk about it with me and encouraging in what I am doing.
  • Organization Ability. My organization, my family, was able to create an environment where I could easily stick with the new habit. Biggest kudos go to my wife who’s best chef ever. She never tried to seduce me with carb rich foods after 7pm…
  • Organization Motivation. My kids do sports and very active at that. My wife also goes to sport classes. All that created motivating environment to keep up with the sprint without major struggle.

Read more about the Six Sources of Influence.

Strategy #4: Turn Bad Days into Good Data

The authors write:

Change Anything“In the face of what feels like abject failure, you’ll become either depressed or curious. …If you become curious, you’ll step back and examine the data, learn from what just happened, and then adjust the plan. …or you can experience the very same setback, become curious, and turn a bad day into good data”

In my case the bad days were when I actually ate carbs rich foods after 7pm. Another view on bad days could be when I could not shed even smallest weight despite not consuming carbs rich foods after 7pm. I became curious why this could be. One reason to that could be that it takes time to show results in the long run. This idea motivated me to stick with the experiment and it paid off by the end of the 30 day sprint – now I am at the begging of another sprint and I am motivated even more, last time I was able to change myself effectively – there is no reason I cannot do it once more. I am now on 30 day sprint no carbs after 3pm.

image by rolands.lakis

About the Author:

This blog is dedicated to share simple practices I that get me results.

8 Comments on "4 Scientifically Proven Strategies To Make Change Happen"

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  1. Lew Sauder says:

    Great book review. This looks like an interesting book. As one who tries to limit carbs myself, this is right up my alley. Thanks!

  2. Alik Levin says:

    Lew,
    Thank you. This book is universal when dealing with change. I used it in many other situations successfully. For example, I was assigned to drive the team’s blog and get every member sign up for posting on it. Go ask a consultant to spare an hour for writing something for free, eh? At the end folks were competing for a slot. I applied same principles and 6 sources of influence outlined in the book.

  3. J.D. Meier says:

    The overall pattern is powerful one.

    It’s really about identifying smart moves ahead of time, so when the trigger happen, you can follow your plan, and respond vs. react.

  4. Alik Levin says:

    JD,
    Well put… trigger, plan, respond

  5. This sounds like a great and motivating book. I like how you included a personal example of how you used the lesson to lead you towards your goal. I am a big believer that personal change is possible as long as we are committed to the outcome and can chart a path of navigation to get there.

  6. alik levin says:

    MyMoneyDesign,
    Thank you. The book has plenty motivating examples at the end how the framework was successfully applied in different areas – finances, work, life, and what not.

  7. Shilpan says:

    Alik,

    “In the face of what feels like abject failure, you’ll become either depressed or curious. …If you become curious, you’ll step back and examine the data, learn from what just happened, and then adjust the plan. …or you can experience the very same setback, become curious, and turn a bad day into good data.”

    I love it. Great minds think alike. Please read my latest article on winning against odds.

    Shilpan

  8. Alik Levin says:

    Shilpan,
    Thank you. I did read your article, resonates w/me much.

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