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CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things - #7

by Rick Baker
On Feb 9, 2010
Physiology and Change For The Better: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
This is the 7th blog in a 10-blog series about Habits, doing New Things, and Change.
In the last 3 blogs, I presented introductions to Ideas about change, the Psychology around change, and Tools for change…and Habits, which are intimately linked to Change and whether or not it happens.
Blog 4: 5 Ideas about Change [John Oesch's ideas]
Blog 5: Psychology related to Change [Maxwell Maltz on self-image, habits, and change]
Blog 6: A Tool to aid Change [the MotivAider]
My goal in those blogs was to introduce the diversity of the facets - some of the pieces of the puzzle - of human behavior, habits, and Change. We need to understand these and other puzzle pieces if we are to optimize Change For The Better. More-specifically, we need to understand how to overcome resistance to Change.
Here are two more important facts about Change:
Some people cannot Change.
Some other people need targeted, professional help to Change.
Daniel Amen was very clear about this in his bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. When I read his book, I came away with the opinion he categorized people into 3 groups: (1) people who could not change regardless of their desire or anyone else's, (2) people who had major problems but could change if they uncovered the right 'remedy' or mix of 'remedies', and (3) normal folks who struggled with certain problems and could , without help from others, change themselves to alleviate or remove their own problems.
  1. People who can not Change: Brain damage, through birth defect or head injury or stroke [etc], can alter the brain to the point remedies will have limited or no success. Some people brains are 'wired' or become 'wired' in a manner that defies remedy.
  2. People who need help to Change: Our knowledge of how brains work has escalated over recent decades. Dr Amen is emphatic when he draws a line between the psychology of the brain [like Maxwell Maltz studied] and the physiology of the brain…such as can be understood by SPECT tests [single photon emission computerized tomography]. Physiological problems can lead to anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, and other problems. All of these problems can wreak havoc with one's life…including one's worklife and one's ability break habits and Change For The Better. Dr Amen recommends professionals consider 4 remedies to target the problems: medication, behavioural change techniques, nutrition, and exercise.
  3. People who can Change on their own: Most people, from time to time, suffer from 'brain problems'. A good example is anxiety around public speaking. Another common one is inability to concentrate. These people do not need medication. The other 3 remedies can be used to create Change For The Better.
Amen 'remedies' can be used for self-improvement whether or not there is major dysfunction.
The next blog in this series will contain an idea about when not to make Change…because it will not be For Better.

CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things - #6

by Rick Baker
On Feb 4, 2010
MotivAider…A Tool for Change For The Better
This is the 6th blog in a 10-blog series about Habits, doing New Things, and Change.
This is one example of a New Thing, a tool, one could use to remove a Bad Habit and create a Good Habit…
The MotivAider®
I bought one of these tools to learn what caused these folks to create the product and to see how it works. In the instruction manual, the MotivAider folks explain their thinking in straightforward words. They have concluded the human brain gets in our way when we try to change ourselves [let alone try to help others change].
The MotivAider people say,
What's wrong with the mind is that it has absolutely no built-in
mechanism for keeping good intentions on "the front burner."
So, they created a tool - the MotivAider - to ensure good intentions are repeatedly brought to the 'front burner'.
They describe how the MotivAider can be used to help a business person change his posture for the better…to help achieve the person's career goals. They also talk about other business applications such as improving customer relations. The MotivAider can also be used to help children develop Good Habits.
Another application: the MotivAider can be used to help people to stop biting their nails.
Speaking of nail biting, here's a quote from Anderson Cooper:
I suppose if you've never bitten your nails, there isn't any way to explain the habit. It's
not enjoyable, really, but there is a certain satisfaction - pride in a job well done.
We all have good intentions that are quickly forgotten or replaced by other thoughts during the heat of our workday action. For example, we all want to have positive attitudes and be optimistic…yet, often during the heat of 'battle' we revert to far-less-productive Bad Habits. That's the main reason I created P=2S+O©.
In the next blog I will take a look at what Dr Daniel Amen [author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life] has to say about Habits…and the realities about whether or not and how people may Change For The Better.

CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things - #5

by Rick Baker
On Feb 2, 2010
Psycho-Cybernetics, Habits, and Change For The Better
This is the 5th blog in a 10-blog series about Habits, doing New Things, and Change.
Dr Maxwell Maltz wrote Psycho-Cybernetics in 1960. Dr Maltz was a plastic surgeon who noticed the huge impact self-image has on people's lives. He wrote about people who had experienced facial injuries and been scarred. Some facial scars ruined lives. Some facial scars were worn like medals of honour. Dr Maltz became a pioneer in psychology when he recognized the injury itself wasn't the problem. How the person viewed himself after the injury was the important thing. North American men who had suffered facial injuries often developed a negative self-image…became depressed, etc…and, as an example, failed to be able to sell as well as they were able to sell before the injury. Meanwhile, Spanish men gained prestige when their faces were injured in sword duels. Dr Maltz wrote about numerous other examples where people's self-images caused problems like anorexia, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, etc.
While that may sound like the stuff psychologists and medical doctors will or should figure out, it isn't restricted to those sciences.
People are people and self-image problems can wreak havoc with people's lives…including their worklife. Small self-image problems can cause major difficulties in the form of firmly set Bad Habits and resistance to change.
People have habits, some good, some not.
Here's how Dr Maltz described Dr Knight Dunlap's study of habits and learning processes:
His experiments proved that the best way to break a habit is to form a clear mental image of the
desired end result, and to practice without effort toward reaching that goal.
Here is some advice from Dr Maltz:
…by arranging things so that we can succeed in little things, we can build an
atmosphere of success which will carry over into larger undertakings.
Dr Maltz created 'mental exercises' to help people remove Bad Habits [like worry and negative thinking] by replacing them with Good Habits [like confidence and courage]. We can employ these techniques when we work on Change For The Better. Many sales-training courses use these types of techniques.
Here's a Maltz excerpt, part of his instruction on how to get out of a Bad Habit rut:
Go back in memory and relive those successful experiences. In your imagination revive
the entire picture in as much detail as you can. In your mind's eye "see" not only
speech, business deal, golf tournament, or whatever, that accompanied your success.
What sounds were there? What about your environment?...
The next blog in this series will present a practical tool - the MotivAider® - for Change.

CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things - #4

by Rick Baker
On Jan 28, 2010
Five Unusual Ideas About Change…Change For The Better
This is the 4th blog in a 10-blog series about Habits, doing New Things, and Change.
Last month, the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce hosted a presentation by Dr. John Oesch of the Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto. The presentation was titled:
Five Unusual Ideas About Change
[John Oesch, UofT - oesch@rotman.utoronto.ca]
Here is a summary of the notes I took during the Five Unusual Ideas About Change session:
  1. Rather than emphasizing the benefits of the proposed change, highlight the potential losses that will happen if the change does not happen. John described 'prospect theory'.
  2. Be explicit about 'what's in it for me'. When you ask your people to change their behaviour, differentiate (1) how it is good for you, (2) how it is good for them, and (3) how it is good for the company. Be candid.
  3. Recognize there will be resistance to change. Put a label on it - Status Quo Bias. Don't just talk about the change, talk about the end point and how this change helps us get to that end point.
  4. A 'pull' can be as, or even more, powerful than a 'push'. For example, demands from clients can pull change through your organization.
  5. The Data Dilemma: when our people ask us for change we say, 'Show me the business case'. When we ask for and lead change, we cannot ask them to take a leap of faith and expect success. Share data.
Now those are ideas we can test in our workplaces.
Perhaps, we already have tried them?
If so - and if they worked, helping us create Change - then we may have repeated them enough so they are Good Habits.
If we have not tried these 5 ideas then we could consider one or more of them as potential New Things we could try. Our goal is to generate Change, both in ourselves and in those we lead. Perhaps, for you, these 5 ideas contain seeds for creating new Good Habits.
In the next blog, I will describe some of Maxwell Maltz's ideas about self-image… Psycho-Cybernetics and Changing For The Better.


Change: Creating Positive Change | Habits: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things

CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things - #3

by Rick Baker
On Jan 26, 2010
People only do 3 things: (1) Good Habits, (2) Bad Habits, and (3) New Things.
This is the 3rd blog in a 10-blog series about Habits, doing New Things, and Change.
To do better, to grow our businesses and to prosper, we must help people make Changes For The Better. And to make Change we must replace Bad Habits with Good Habits. Often, we can change Bad Habits into Good Habits by doing New Things…ie, doing New Things specifically designed to remove the Bad Habit and create the Good Habit.
The next 6 blogs will present some example of ideas, tools, and techniques aimed at helping people create positive Change.
A summary of blogs to follow:
Blog 4: Five Unusual Ideas About Change…John Oesch, PhD
Blog 5: Psycho-Cybernetics…Dr Maxwell Maltz
Blog 6: MotivAider®…a habit-changing tool
Blog 7: Physiology & Change Your Brain, Change Your Life…Dr. Daniel Amen
Blog 8: Human Strengths & Weaknesses: StrengthsFinder…Marcus Buckingham
Blog 9: A New Habit, P=2S+O©…a habit-changing tool
Blog 10: Wrap-up discussion
To create Change For The Better people need to consider New Things and develop Good Habits.
To develop Good Habits people need to be open to considering new ideas and new tools.
The next blog will introduce John Oesch's Five Unusual Ideas About Change.

CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things - #2

by Rick Baker
On Jan 21, 2010
People only do 3 things: (1) Good Habits, (2) Bad Habits, and (3) New Things.
This is the 2nd blog in a 10-blog series about Habits, doing New Things, and Change.
Change often meets resistance.
Here's an example of what I mean:
Why do people often fear and resist Change?
To answer that question we must first understand Habits.
Some facts about the word 'Habit':
  • The English word dates back to the 13th century
  • From the Latin word habitus…'condition, demeanor, appearance, dress'
  • Has both an internal and an external connotation…'what we wear'
  • Today, we still refer to certain religious apparel as 'habit'
So, for centuries, the word Habit has described what other folks see when they look at us and our internal [psychological/physiological] workings.
Our Habits show what we are because they are very closely bonded to what we are.
While that may come across as too much detail or too much theory, the fact is if we do not understand the roots of Habits then we will have difficulty effecting Changes For The Better.
Successful people from all walks of life have recognized the extreme importance of Habits.
Here's a few samples of their thinking:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle
Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits. Mark Twain
The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn't like to do. Thomas Edison
One word of caution…the subconscious is just as apt to pick up a bad habit as a good one. Thomas D. Willhite
A change in bad habits leads to a change in life. Jenny Craig
In the next blog I will begin to look at ways to create Good Habits and Change For The Better.


Change: Creating Positive Change | Habits: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things

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