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The Elephant and the Rider

The Elephant and the Rider

We like to think we navigate through life in a reasonable, logical manner, using our brains to make rational decisions. But often this isn’t the case. Jonathan Haidt argues instead that we are like an elephant and a rider. The elephant is the emotional, automatic, and...
People Only Change a Small Amount

People Only Change a Small Amount

I was working on a project with a work colleague the other day, and I found myself wishing she were different. We had different styles about how we approached deadlines. I wanted to get the project done pretty far ahead of time, so that I wouldn’t be stressed out as...
The Only Constant is Change

The Only Constant is Change

This summer I spent some time in Red Wing, Minnesota, and stayed at my grandmother’s cabin. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place; the backyard overlooks the Mississippi river. One morning I got up to go for a jog. I ran to the end of the street, where as a child I...
One Foot on the Gas, One Foot on the Brake

One Foot on the Gas, One Foot on the Brake

Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying to make a change in your life, but it just isn’t working? Or maybe you find yourself taking two steps forward, but then two steps backward? Sometimes when this happens in my own life, I have noticed that there are...
When You Slip… Don’t Stay on the Ground

When You Slip… Don’t Stay on the Ground

Have you ever been trying to make a change in your life, only to slip up? This happened to me the other day. I was participating in a nutrition challenge with my gym, and I had been doing pretty well for a few days. But then I hosted an end of the semester party, and...
Repurpose Your Life

Repurpose Your Life

I’m not artistic or handy, so I’m always amazed at people who can refurbish old furniture. Maybe you know someone who has that skill. They might start with an old table that they found in a pile of garbage on the side of the road. At the beginning, the table looks a...
Limit Extrinsic Reinforcement

Limit Extrinsic Reinforcement

This post is Part 2 in a 2-part blog series on reinforcement and change. (If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.) When you are making a change effort, it is important to think about reinforcement. Reinforcement is a fancy word that refers to something that makes...
Check Your Reinforcement Schedule

Check Your Reinforcement Schedule

This post is Part 1 in a 2-part blog series on reinforcement and change. The spring fundraising campaign on NPR is finally over! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, for two weeks each spring, the public radio station does a fundraising drive....
3 A’s for Change

3 A’s for Change

This post is for those of us who want to change something in our lives. Maybe you want to improve your marriage or relationships with your kids. Perhaps you want to do better at your job, or find a job that is a better fit for your gifts and talents. Maybe you want to...
Do the Opposite On Purpose

Do the Opposite On Purpose

Have you ever had something in your life you wanted to start doing, or stop doing, but you just couldn’t seem to make the change? Or maybe you were able to ‘white-knuckle’ it for awhile, but you haven’t been able to sustain the change. This can be a very frustrating...
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