Chip and Dan Heath distill effective behavior change down to three simple steps in their well-researched and enjoyable book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.
1) First, direct the rational mind
- Provide crystal-clear direction. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.
- Script the critical moves — don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors.
- Point to the destination. Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it.
2) Second, motivate the emotional mind
- Focus on emotions. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people (or yourself) feel something.
- Shrink the change. Break down the change so it’s not scary.
- When leading a group, cultivate a sense of identity and instill a growth mindset. Believe change is possible.
3) “Shape the Path”
- What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.
- Tweak the environment. When a situation changes, behavior changes. So change the situation.
- Build habits. When a behavior is habitual it doesn’t tax our minds as much.
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