For the month of March, I’m taking a progressive approach and having each newsletter build on the previous one.
A few weeks ago, I encouraged you to take a closer look at your behaviors and patterns in order to create change in your life and then last week, gave you 5 ways to do this.
Now that you’ve had an opportunity for reflection and self-examination, I want to talk about how to best move forward and actually create behavior changes that stick.
There’s a lot of research out there that focuses on the length of time it takes to create lasting change, or form a new habit.
Some suggest it takes 21 days.
Many will argue that 21 days is a bunch of BS, and it actually takes more than 2 months, 66 days to be exact, until a new behavior becomes automatic.
While others, including myself, tend to stay away from associating the process of creating a new habit with a certain number of days.
And, when I speak about creating a new habit, I’m speaking of creating new behaviors that will elevate you to new levels of success.
The truth is that it often requires a certain level of sacrifice, honesty and consistent commitment in order to create this type of change; HOWEVER, it DOESN’T have to be difficult.
In my Master’s program from a few years ago, I learned a very simple technique called “the 3 foot toss” that has helped me and my clients tremendously.
The concept was derived from a book called, “The Kaizen Way”, which suggests that great change is made through small steps…
Ask small questions.
Think small thoughts.
Take small actions.
Solve small problems.
The goal is to change your life without fear, without failure.
Often people will get trapped by the “think BIG” mindset and are unable to make the changes they want. The Kaizen Way goes against this and encourages the opposite – “think SMALL”.
It’s great to have big goals; however, when considering how to create change, the BIG mindset can be a hindrance.
Ok….back to the 3 ft toss…here’s how it works…
If I give you 5 horseshoes and told you that you could either toss them from 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 feet and receive points based on the distance you threw them from, (i.e. 9 ft gives you 9 points), what distance would you choose?
Before I give you a chance to think about it, I’m going to give you the “correct” answer based on the principles of The Kaizen Way…
……The answer is 3 feet away!
If you stand 3 feet away from the stake, you can stretch forward and place all 5 horseshoes on the stake, at the same time; this is considered to be 5 ringers if we’re talking “horseshoe talk”.
This guarantees you 15 points > 5 horseshoes; 3 points each.
If you choose to step back to 6, 9, 12 feet, etc, there are no guarantees and risk becomes a factor.
When talking about creating new habits, we want to eliminate the risk factor and focus on guaranteed changes that you can make on a weekly, even daily basis.
I use “the 3 foot toss” technique with my clients all the time by having them choose an action that they can take for the upcoming week that will force them to stretch a little bit, but gives them a guaranteed opportunity for success.
Pretty cool, yah? AND…..easy.
In fact, It’s something that you can start doing today.
I realize there are many approaches to creating change – if you have one that you use, I’d love to hear about it, OR, if you give the 3 ft toss approach a chance, I’d love to hear how it goes. Lemme know!
Next week’s newsletter will give you a summary of the themes we covered in March – then we move into the 2nd quarter where the focus of the Wednesday newsletters for April, May, and June will be on personal responsibility.