To illustrate how powerful the science of personal success can be, the authors describe how Changers have successfully applied the techniques to common problems and succeeded at changing their habits.
Getting Unstuck at Work
Research conducted by Change Anything Labs found that top performers in a wide variety of organizations demonstrate the same three vital behaviors. First, they focus on the technical aspects of their jobs and work hard at mastering those. Second, they contribute to tasks that are key to the organization’s success. Third, they have a reputation for helping others solve their problems. To succeed at work, people must tailor these three vital behaviors to their own circumstances.
In a case study focused on an accountant named Melanie, the authors explain how she created a six source plan to improve her professional situation:
* Source 1: Love What You Hate. Melanie developed a Personal Motivation Statement and visited her default future by looking at co-workers who had leveled out early in their careers. She also set up an automatic motivational email and developed a game based on tracking her billable hours.
* Source 2: Do What You Cannot. Melanie completed a skill scan and enrolled in a tax law seminar.
* Sources 3 and 4: Turn Accomplices into Friends. Melanie held a transformation conversation with her life partner, converted her boss from an accomplice into a friend, and cultivated new friends.
* Source 5: Invert the Economy. Melanie made use of financial incentives, by saving for a new bicycle each week she met her goals, and sending money to a political party she opposed when she did not.
* Source 6: Control Your Space. Melanie used cues like photos and motivational messages, built fences, and used tools to stay on track.
Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Staying That Way
With weight loss and fitness, short-term campaigns do not work. Instead, it is necessary to develop new lifelong habits. According to the authors, people who have successfully lost weight all demonstrate three vital behaviors. First, they assessed their overall health before starting a diet or exercise program. Second, they ate more healthfully and ate less. Third, they incorporated a mix of exercise, including stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular activities.
The authors offer the following examples of how people can engage the six sources of influence to support weight loss and improved fitness.
* Source 1: Love What You Hate. It is important to find food and exercise options that are enjoyable. Consider visiting the default future to resist temptation or count calories as a game.
* Source 2: Do What You Cannot. Conduct a skill scan and identify whether new skills beyond dieting and fitness skills are needed.
* Sources 3 and 4: Turn Accomplices into Friends. Try to find a partner in training and work together on diet and fitness goals. Also, ensure that the person who does the food shopping and cooking is a friend, rather than an accomplice.
* Source 5: Invert the Economy. Weight loss goals should be short-term, such as losing one pound per week. The authors describe a person who wanted to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks. Each week he missed his target, he lost $10.
* Source 6: Control Your Space. One way to build fences is to do a food audit and discard unhealthy foods. Joining a gym that is closer to work or home is an effective way to manage distance. Both cues and tools can be used to promote better nutrition and exercise.
Becoming Financially Fit and Staying Out of Debt
In a case study that focused on Shiree and Tyson, the authors explain how a married couple developed a plan to get out of debt and improve their financial situation. First, they identified their crucial moments and created vital behaviors. Their four vital behaviors were to (1) track all their expenditures in a mobile phone app, (2) make a list of what they intended to buy before going to the store, (3) save 10 percent from their paychecks before spending anything, and (4) hold a weekly wealth review to discuss what they spent and agree on the next week’s budget.
Shiree and Tyson used the six sources of influence to achieve their financial goals:
* Source 1: Love What You Hate. They interviewed each other and created a Personal Motivation Statement. In addition, they used a web tool to vividly illustrate that their monthly expenditures exceeded their monthly income. To make their goals more manageable, they made it a game focused on small wins and with a visible scoreboard.
* Source 2: Do What You Cannot. After Shiree and Tyson did a financial skills scan, they created a plan to become more financially knowledgeable. They also worked on impulse control by taking a list of planned purchases to the store and delaying unplanned purchases until they had thought about them for 24 hours.
* Sources 3 and 4: Turn Accomplices into Friends. Shiree and Tyson realized that they had been accomplices to one another, so they changed their behaviors. In addition, they developed a circle of virtual “friends,” comprised of other people who listened to a personal finance radio talk show.
* Source 5: Invert the Economy. Each week that the couple maintained their financial plan, they rewarded themselves with a free Wednesday night date.
* Source 6: Control Your Space. The most important tool Shiree and Tyson used was a mobile phone app that displayed how much they had remaining in each budget category. Other tactics they used were to build a “cash fence” and to pay for everything with cash for six months, and to avoid situations that would tempt them to spend money.
Taking Life Back From Addiction
A case study about a man named Lee describes how one person overcame an addiction to cigarettes. The authors suggest that three actions are important to adopt when dealing with an addiction. First, it is important to say no and to stop engaging in the bad habit. Second, it is essential to engage in incompatible activities. This typically equates to activities which distract the person from their addiction. Third, physical activity seems to reprogram the brain’s internal circuits which help to break addictions.
* Source 1: Love What You Hate. Lee focused on his long-term aspirations and how smoking detracted from them. He used value words to counteract temptations and also began hiking.
* Source 2: Do What You Cannot. After conducting a skill scan, Lee learned more about his addiction and also discovered ways to distract himself from the urge to smoke.
* Sources 3 and 4: Turn Accomplices into Friends. Lee held transformation conversations with his wife, father, and smoking friends at work. He also added new friends by joining a hiking club.
* Source 5: Invert the Economy. When Lee met his goals, he took the money that would have been spent on cigarettes and used it to fund family outings. After a few months of success, he and his wife also invested in the future by cleaning the carpets, washing the walls, and throwing away Lee’s smoking chair.
* Source 6: Control Your Space. Lee built fences by getting rid of cigarettes and smoking related objects. He also used tools on his mobile phone and computer which encouraged him to change.
Changing Relationships by Changing Oneself
In relationships, negative experiences can color the way a person perceives the entire relationship. Marriage scholar Howard Markman has identified four actions related to how people argue which predict with 90 percent accuracy whether a couple will remain happy or not. These actions are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. Couples who use these tactics are unlikely to remain happy in their relationships.
The authors use the case study of Patricia to describe how the science of personal change can be used to revitalize relationships. After watching three friends go through divorces, Patricia began to consider breaking up with her husband, Jonathan. To save her marriage, she created a plan based on the six influences:
* Source 1: Love What You Hate. Patricia visited her default future if nothing changed and realized that she must take action. She also began to take responsibility for her role in the relationship, rather than believing she was the innocent victim.
* Source 2: Do What You Cannot. Patricia and Jonathan got coaching from a marriage therapist and worked on their skills together.
* Sources 3 and 4: Turn Accomplices into Friends. Patricia’s brother acted as a true friend and helped her understand that her own behavior might be affecting her relationship.
* Source 5: Invert the Economy. After developing a plan for change, Patricia and Jonathan used incentives to keep them on track. They celebrated weeks when they enacted their vital behaviors with a special night out or nice bottle of wine.
* Source 6: Control Your Space. Some of Patricia and Jonathan’s problems originated from their beautiful home and large mortgage. The payments drove Patricia to work long hours. As a result, they decided to change their environment. They also took steps to fence off harsh verbal conflict.