Go To It!: Learn How to Change Things When Change is Hard

Did you know our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control? No wonder I can say, at one moment, I’m going to work out and drop 10 lbs before my winter trip to the beach, and then 2 seconds later reach for a second piece of apple pie!

In their book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, New York Times bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath (Made to Stick) explain the two minds and how we can unite them to achieve dramatic success.

Everyone has an emotional (the Heath brothers call it the “Elephant”) side and a rational (the “Rider”) side. To make change happen, you’ve got to reach both and you have to clear the way for them to succeed. In short, you must do three things:

Direct the “Rider”

  • Follow the bright spots: Investigate what’s working and clone it.          
  • Script the critical moves: Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific         behavior.
  • Point to the Destination: Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it.

Motivate the “Elephant”

  • Find the feeling: Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something.
  • Shrink the change: Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant.
  • Grow your people: Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset.

 Shape the Path

  • Tweak the environment: when the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation.
  •  Build habits: When behavior is habitual, it’s “free”—it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits.
  • Rally the herd: Behavior is contagious. Help it spread.

Do you find it hard to control the Elephant (emotional) and Rider (rational) parts of your mind? Tell us!

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Learn more about Chip Heath & Dan Heath's bestselling book:
  • Book Cover

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