Ryan's Reviews > Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success

Change Anything by Kerry Patterson
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's review
Apr 21, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction, psychology, own
Read from April 17 to 21, 2011

** spoiler alert ** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: The authors replicated Mischel’s marshmallow study and taught some participants to use distraction and distance techniques and showed that self regulation scores changed tremendously. They have footage of their experiments on changeanything.com/exclusive website.

***The authors argue that there are six sources of influence: 1. Personal motivation – interrupt your impulses by connecting actions to goals during crucial moments. 2. Personal ability – learn new skills to change persistent and resistant habits 3. Social motivation – if those around us model and encourage bad habits we are likely to maintain them; turn accomplices into friends 4. Social ability – deeply entrenched habits require real support from others (e.g., a coach). 5. Structural motivation – Make use of things; directly link short-term rewards and punishments to new habits 6. Structural ability – small changes in your environment can have a surprising effect on your choices; add a few visual cues that help you focus on your goals

***Social science of personal change: 1. Identify crucial moments – focus on the handful of moments when you’re most at risk; where do you face the most temptation 2. Create vital behaviors – create rules to follow when temptation pays you a visit (e.g., implementation intentions and contingencies for when you fail). 3. Engage all six sources of influence 4. Turn bad days into good data – use failure as a learning experience – note what happens when you fail and adjust methods accordingly (START TAKING NOTES).

***The authors mention the benefit of a “motivational interview” asking a person the future he/she would like to live, how they were going to get there, and so forth. This requires the person to create the default (where you’ll end up if you keep going this way) and desired futures.

***1. Personal/motivation: Visit your default future (how you will end up if you continue in this direction 1. Tell the whole vivid story - be descriptive about where you will end up so it sticks in your head 2. Use value words - connect your goal with a really important "why" for what standard you are adhering to 3. Make it a game - set up a time frame or small milestones or make it a competition 4. Create a personal motivation statement - during crucial moments reconnect with your motivation through your statement that incorporates all of the previous parts of your personal motivation

***2. Personal/ability: Do what you can't: 1. Start with a skill scan – figure out what skills you do have, and if you have the ones necessary to complete your plan 2. Employ deliberate practice – what are the component parts of the skill you are learning; break them down and practice each deliberately 3. Learn the will skill – determine your tempting scenarios and discover how to avoid them and practice withstanding them.

***Another famous obedience study: Orne & Evans (1965) JPSP – social control in the psychological experiment

***3.&4. Social motivation/ability: Summary of turning accomplices into friends: 1. Be aware of who is going to help encourage vs. discourage you towards your goals. 2. Redefine "normal" to fit with your new goals. 3. Hold a transformation conversation with close others about your new goals. 4. Add new friends, 5. and distance yourself from the unwilling.

***On loss aversion - study done by authors on iPhone - if you just bought one, it would take $1218 more than purchase price to sell, but if they hadn't bought one yet, they would only pay $97 more than purchase price in order to make sure they got one.

***When creating rewards for yourself when working towards a goal, make sure the rewards come during the pursuit (after achievement of small goals) rather than a reward for your final goal.

***5. Structural/motivation: invert the economy: 1. Use carrots and the threat of losing carrots, 2. use incentives in moderation and in combination (so you aren't doing it solely for the rewards), 3. and reward small wins (i.e., don't just have a reward for at the end of the goal, they are much more effective is used throughout).

***6. Structural/ability: control your space: 1. Build fences - set rules to keep you acting in healthy ways. Don't use fences as sole source for change or you will relapse when they are gone. 2. Manage distance - remove bad things from your immediate environment and keep good things closer. Your physical space determines a lot of how you behave. 3. Change cues - reminders for things you want to be doing and remove reminders of bad behaviors. Especially important where you crucial moments take place. 4. Engage your autopilot so the positive path is the path of least resistance (ie, it would take more effort not to follow the path). 5. Use tools like electronic reminders, etc. to help you stick to your goals.
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