Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Small Steps on the Path to Change

Some excellent advice from Robert Maurer, via Gretchen Rubin. Link here.

The question is simple: how do you motivate people to change and how do you get them to take the steps needed to effect that change?

Maurer, via Rubin, suggests that small steps, even steps that are small to the point of feeling inconsequential, are better than attempts at quick, radical change.

In his example, if you tell someone that she needs to do more exercise, you should not tell her to go out and find a trainer and start exercising thirty minutes a day.

This might be the goal, but if she tries to do it all at once it will disrupt her daily routines and feel like a trauma. Thus, she will recoil at such a drastic reorganization of her time.

Maurer's solution: ask her to march in place for one minute every day in front of the television. It is a easy to do, it does not interfere with any routines, and it is easily accomplished.

By following this piece of advice the woman took a small but consequential step toward better health.

How can we change bad habits or develop good ones? Rubin recommends that when you identify a goal or a challenge you push yourself to find the smallest step that will move you toward that goal.

It does not matter whether you achieve it today or next month or six years from now. If you have not taken steps in the right direction you will never get there.

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