Many people fear change. Some people may not say that they fear change, but they don’t like change.

Why is this?

What is it about change that people don’t like?

What do they fear about it?

I am not an expert in this field, but I see a three main reasons:

  1. We are creatures of habit – ‘change’ challenges those habits and routines
  2. There is the fear of the unknown. We generally know what to expect in our current situation, but we don’t know what it will be like if something changes.
  3. We feel like change has to be huge and has to be done quickly. This amplifies the fear.

The first two reasons, regarding our habits and fear of the unknown, are mindset issues. I don’t plan to cover this, but let me say this. While many people don’t like change, they don’t like the way things are going. In order to change the way things are going, something has to change. It is that fear, though, that keeps people from making the necessary changes.

The third reason is what I want to deal with in this episode. If change is too big or is implemented too quickly, it usually isn’t very effective. And if it is a huge change that happens quickly, it can really be messy.

Change, however, is best done in smaller bits over time.

Incremental change

Think about all the diets that you have done, or that others you know have done. What causes many of those plans to fail? Usually a diet and exercise regiment is created that is drastic. It may create short term results, but it’s like a rubber band that is stretched too quickly – it either snaps or bounces back.

The diet plans that work best and produce longer term success are the ones that make smaller changes over time. They are the plans that are lifestyle changes – not just temporary diets.

Cliff Ravenscraft is an example of this. Cliff is an online friend of mine and has been known for years as “The Podcast Answer Man.” Years ago he was in a family insurance business and turned to teaching podcasting and business online. Through a sedentary lifestyle, he began to gain and retain weight.

After years of unsuccessful diet plans, he made a life-long commitment at the end of 2014. He committed himself to working out six days a week for the rest of his life. Now, in his case, he did have some intensity behind the workouts – but it wasn’t the intensity that brought his success.

It was is commitment to do it for the rest of his life.

He didn’t treat it as a 30-day or 90-day diet, where he would return to his “normal” lifestyle. He made it a priority every day.

Commitment

For you, make a plan to make your change over time and commit to it for your life.

Keeping on the health track, if you want to lose weight, don’t focus on the total weight you want to lose. Set a reasonable goal that you can achieve. Aim for 1 pound per week. After a year, that’s 52 pounds.

“But I don’t want to wait a year!” you may say. “I want it more quickly than that.”

Would you rather aim for a short term result that may cause excessive frustration and stress. Or would you rather set a plan in motion that will yield smaller results in the short term, but will set you up on a trajectory of success.

Make a small commitment that you can hold on to.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Depending on where you grew up, building a snowman may have been a part of your childhood winters. I grew up in southern Wisconsin and our winters were about six months long, usually from Halloween to Easter. Large snowfalls were common, so we spent plenty of time playing in the snow – from sledding, to skiing, to building forts and tunnels, creating snow angels, and building snowmen.

In case you’re not familiar with the process of building a snowman, let me break it down in to the basic steps. First, let’s start with the end product: we are looking for three large balls of snow – usually the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top. So how do you go from tiny snowflakes to a large ball?

You start with a small handful of snow and pack it together. If it doesn’t end up on the back of your brother’s head, you’ll take that ball and start rolling it on the ground. Eventually, that little snowball will pick up the snow on the ground and get larger. You’ll roll it back-and-forth and side-to-side, attempting to make it more like a ball than a cylinder.

You’ll repeat this process for the other two balls of snow to create the snowman’s torso and head. Then you decorate with sticks, charcoal coal, carrots, or whatever else you decide to use.

What’s the point of this story?

Building a snowman composed of large balls of snow starts by taking a small handful of snow and packing it together.

The domino chain reaction

It is said that a domino can knock over another domino up to 50% bigger than itself. In other words a 2-inch domino can knock over a 3-inch domino. If you were to start with a 5 mm domino and have each successive domino be 50% larger, the 30th domino would be about the size of the Empire State Building. And it would be knocked over just by tapping that little domino with your finger.

Set your goals like the dominoes. Start small and slowly increase them.

Incremental change can be powerful!