Change is inevitable. Whether it is in your personal life or professional life it is bound to happen and, if you’re like the rest of us, it is not always an easy pill to swallow. While change isn’t always easy it is almost always necessary. If you think about how things are now and then imagine them ten years from now, do you picture everything exactly the same? Probably not. So, whether we like it or not, change must occur but for the better.

Chip and Dan Heath wrote a book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. When we face change we have a rational side (the rider) and an emotional side (the elephant) and our success is measured by how well we are able to manage these opposing sides. Based on this information the tips listed below will help you implement change in any situation, big or small, at home or at work.

  • Direct the Rider – We need to rein in our rational side and clarify the steps of change before we get overwhelmed. You can find “bright spots” or situations when a similar change has worked and find out what was done. You can also script the critical moves by choosing specific actions to follow. For example, instead of saying I am going to eat healthy, we should say I am going to eat 4 fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Motivate the Elephant – Find the feeling. The elephant is our emotional side which is much bigger than the rational side and will likely take over if we do not make some connection to the change. To do this you could use visuals or tell a story that shows the connection.
  • Shape the Path – Change needs to be easy. One option here is shrinking the change by requiring only a small amount of time or focus each day. For example, instead of saying I am going to clean the whole house today maybe just say you will spend 10 minutes cleaning your room.

Follow these steps when planning your change and you will find that reaching your goals might not be as difficult as you once thought it to be. Keep it simple, make the connection, and start small.

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