I just read a great book called Change Anything by 5 different people. It’s an empirical study of how people create change. What are the factors involved? They narrowed it down to three:
Each one has a motivational component and an ability component. You have to be motivated to change, then attain the ability to do so. You have to take personal responsibility. Jesus asked one person, “Do you want to be healed?” Then you have to create the environment for change. Don’t buy a bunch of snacks at the grocery store and think that you can use your will power to not eat them. The last part, and I think likely the most important part, is the social aspect of change. Let people in your life know what you are trying to do. Build in the accountability, connection, and encouragement. We have found that we get much better results with groups than we do with individuals.
We work not only with emotional intelligence, but mental and physical peak performance. It all works together to create amazing, lasting changes personally and professionally. One recent group of 21 top leaders lost over 200 pounds as a group and significantly increased their emotional competence, especially their interpersonal skills.
A couple of the guys decided to bring their family in on the fun. As a family, they decided on some goals and put them into a spread sheet. One of the guys called it The Family Smackdown. It was a competition. The family members who did the most activities over an eight week period won cash prizes.
The items were:
Sleep (7 hours)
Water (8 glasses)
No junk food
Fruits and vegetables (2 servings each)
Scriptures (15 minutes) and two prayers
No eating after 9 pm
Act of kindness
It energized the family and helped the participant and his family members to make those positive changes. And these initiatives tend to linger long after the end of the program.
There is a friend of mine on Facebook who I have known for 30 years. One day, she put on Facebook that she was going to start walking. She wrote every single day after she finished her morning walk and created quite a following. Some days, there were more than 50 comments, encouraging her and reinforcing that behavior. And she kept walking. At the one year mark, there were over dozens of people who commented on her status, encouraging her and congratulating her. One person gave her a very expensive pair of walking shoes as a gift for making the one year mark. She is up to 459 days and she has now lost 60 pounds and her outlook has totally changed. Would she have attained these results without that social aspect? Perhaps. But it is a powerful testament to adding the social into any change endeavor that you have. She has inspired many others to walk. And another friend who has encouraged her has put on Facebook that he is going to quit smoking.
Change is hard. Period. And we need all the help and encouragement we can get. So accept the personal responsibility, create that environment for change, and get as many people in on the process as possible!