Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Be the change
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
So, I keep talking about continuous improvement. It's only fair that I improve something. So here it is:
I will lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks by losing a pound a week. I am giving a friend $200. If I am above my goal weight for that week, he is to immediately donate $10 to a Presidential candidate that I intensely dislike. Otherwise, he gives $10 back to me.
Here's what I like about this plan for improvement.
It's important. I will be better off losing the weight.
It's challenging. I don't lose weight easily.
It's doable. We're not talking Biggest Loser weightloss here. Twenty pounds in twenty weeks requires no miracles, just perseverence.
It's measurable. Easy to verify success.
It has a deadline.
It proceeds in small increments, week by week. If I just said 20 pounds in 20 weeks, see you in five months, there's little chance I'd be successful.
It leverages loss aversion. We tend to feel worse losing something than gaining an equal amount. So instead of gaining $10/week, I will prevent losing $10.
It leverages a very unpleasant outcome. Losing ten bucks is one thing, but going to that duffus? Unthinkable!
It leverages the support of others. I set up the arrangement with a group I eat lunch with once a week. Most of them also dislike that candidate, so they'll all be on my side for the weekly weigh-ins.
It's fun. In general, I don't think denying myself desserts is fun, but this twist has added some fun to the enterprise.
It will last long enough to build new habits. The real goal isn't to lose 20 pounds but to be at least 20 pounds lighter from then on. Building better habits is the real goal.
Do you see any similarities to continuous improvement in education? I'll keep you posted on my progress.
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continuous improvement, weightloss