Book Review: Change Anything

The title of this week’s book review and giveaway says it all. Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success directly targets the bad habits and bad behaviors that are holding you back from your potential.

Our actions are the single greatest influence on our day-to-day reality. Given that belief, the most impactful investment  we can make is that of transforming our unproductive or unhealthy behaviors into positive daily habits.

The Change Anything authorsSix Sources of Influence suggest that with any given behavior there are six potential sources of influence. With bad habits, several of them are often working against you rather than for you.

While we fail to recognize the factors that are encouraging or enabling our bad behaviors, we get stuck in the “willpower trap”: We want to change, we muster up enormous motivation to change, and then, as if on a treadmill, we sprint toward it without actually moving forward. When we fail, we blame ourselves and our lack of willpower.

To get results sooner and more sustainably, you must identify those sources of negative influence in your life and either neutralize them or transform them into positive influences.

The steps to creating a plan that will greatly multiply your odds for success:

  1. Identify your “crucial moments” or weak points and focus your efforts there.
  2. Create new rules or “vital behaviors” that will keep you from breaking under pressure.
  3. Visualize both your default future if you do nothing different (obesity) and your potential future if you change (bikini).
  4. Research and practice new skills that could improve your odds of success based on your weak moments.
  5. Identify your accomplices: those who, often with good intentions, either encourage or enable your bad behavior. Turn them into friends by asking for help and setting boundaries. Get a coach and some fans to cheer your change effort on.
  6. Incentivize yourself by either creating a reward or by setting up a loss if you fail. Example: Pre-paying a personal trainer.
  7. Adjust your environment. If the treadmill is in the cold basement, move it into your bedroom. If the pantry is stocked with fatty snacks, exchange them.

Each chapter includes effective examples and creative applications so that you can create a strong initial plan, “turn bad days into good data,” and refine your plan until you achieve success. Additionally, each book comes with a code to access the Change Anything website where you can document your plan, track progress, and review additional resources.

Perhaps the most impactful takeaway from the book is the concept that who we surround ourselves with defines our sense of “normal” and significantly influences our behaviors:

“Rise above the shared sense of what is common or acceptable. How do you want to live and feel? And who do you want to be?”


Giveaway! Enter to win Change Anything in two easy steps:

1) Become an email subscriber if you aren’t already. You can subscribe here.

2) What is one enabling source of influence that you didn’t consider changing until now? Share your thoughts on this post.

The subscriber with the most insight by the end of the day Monday will receive a brand new copy of Change Anything!

MST. Contest is limited to addresses in the United States, including APO/FPO addresses with US Zip Codes. [post_ender]

  1. I thought Wendy’s comment was interesting. As someone who has no shortage of discipline, I think I am sometimes over demanding of others and fail to see how I could be discouraging or enabling behaviors that aren’t actually helpful for them.

    1. This particular perspective wasn’t directly addressed in the book – you gleaned a powerful insight that could be used to re-read multiple chapters simply for the purpose of being a better ally for others. Congrats, Kevin – fresh copy of the book headed your way!

  2. I need this book! I never thought of my husband as my enabler. It’s very innocent, but he works a physical job and therefore eats like a horse without gaining any weight. I sit all day for my job and over the years 30 lbs has crept on because it’s a pain to make two different meals and watch him eat burgers and fries while I choke down a salad. It’s time to come to the middle with healthy, hearty food so that I can just eat smaller portions.

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