Category Archives: 40 Days Change

A small, clear creek

“Constant, slow movement teaches us to keep working like a small creek that stays clear, that doesn’t stagnate, but finds a way through numerous details, deliberately.” -Rumi (from the poem Deliberation)   Having trouble keeping going? Are your work and family commitments overwhelming? Try constant, slow movement. Movement always helps. Even more helpful is the speed of the movement. Yet this speed of movement isn’t actually the process…it’s the teacher, read that first line again. It teaches us to keep working. And not just continuing to work any old stressed-out, exhausted-will way. Work like a small creek, a clear creek. Not a raging, muddy river. Not a dam-burst torrent. Not a dried up puddle. A small, clear creek. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to spend quality time next to a creek like this recently or not, we all know intuitively what that looks like. “I’ll take that right about now!” we say longingly. Anything is better than the current approach to the fire-hose of work. Constant, slow movement – keep going and go slower – is our calm, deliberate path through all those details tugging at us today.

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My Change Ritual 2018

I’m supporting my ‘next 50’* 40 days with: A walk outside. Every time I go for a walk – even a short one, even if the weather isn’t amazing – something becomes better. I get reoriented to a part of me I like better. I get a slightly better clearer picture of my ‘place in the family of things’ as Mary Oliver wrote. So this walk – which I know sounds like its own change attempt – will support my change. It’s a time to drop all the other stuff my brain is chewing on and just focus on my change, to meditate, think, feel, see what comes up. It’s ideally a walk in nature, but I may be on the road in an urban setting – so ‘anywhere outside’ is fine. It’s going to happen just like the unofficial Post Office motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”   Time of day I’ll be doing my ritual Morning before work begins ideally. If not then, try for lunch time. If not then end of day before sunset. If not then? Out in the dark I go.   How I’ll know if I haven’t yet done my ritual each day My hiking shoes will be sitting by the door. I won’t have noted it on my tracking form. My journal will be empty for that day.   How I’ll know that I have done my ritual each day My hiking shoes are on the rack. I’ve noted it on my tracking form. I’ve written in my journal.   How I’ll make my ritual easy for me to remember I’ll set my hiking shoes next to the door before I go to bed.   How about you? That’s me this year for 40 days. What’s your ritual? How will you know you’ve taken action on your change today? We want to hear from you.   *In case you missed it, here’s my change focus on the eve of the year I turn 50: What do I carry with me across this threshold? What do I leave behind, no matter how enticing or safe feeling? What essential parts of me do I reclaim that I’ve lost track of over the years?

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Get ready for 40 Days to Change For Good 2018

40 Days to Change for Good begins once again November 11th. This annual tradition (started in 2010) is a simple 40-day ritual of daily working-on-something-that-matters. It has been profoundly helpful to many readers. Pick something you want to change for good or move ahead on something large that you’re having difficulty persisting with. Day 40 begins November 11 (Veterans Day) and Day Zero is December 21 (the Winter Solstice). Learn more in my e-book (free to you) here.  Curious about what I’m working on this year? Revealed next time! What will you change? We’d love to hear.

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How did Gordon Hayward get back on the NBA court?

In the first game of the 2017 NBA season, Boston Celtic Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific leg injury, breaking his leg. It ended his season just as it began and put his future ability into question. How would he come back? Could he come back? He worked tirelessly on his body for 365 days of course, just what you’d imagine he’d do. But he did some other things to help him as well. Ros Gold-Onwude asked him about getting back on the court for the first game of the 2018 season, one year later. She reported, “Gordon has visualized this very moment with a sports psychologist. He’s visualized walking out in front of fans, making a pass, making a shot. He’s visualized making these simple basketball actions without mistakes and without pain. He also journals. He told me after the game he can not wait to write about the joy of being back on the court.” He’s done a great job of using the three-legged stool to make positive change happen: action, feeling and thinking. Action: 365 days of rehab. For example, when unable to run for months he was in the weight room “every single day.” Feeling: Journaling the lows and after this very special game the highs Thinking: Visualizing a pain-free return The ATF trio drives personal change in a powerful way. It brought Hayward back to this moment, even though he said, “I lost a year in my prime of my career. I mean, it’s very frustrating. It’s something I can never get back. But I’ve gained a lot throughout the year.” Seeing a video montage of his progress that played on the Jumbotron before the game he said, “It brought back a lot of memories, a lot of dark memories and a lot of dark times. But to be honest, it was cool to see some of the progression. They showed just a little bit of everything of me and then finally being back.” Dark times are what we all are given in life, sooner or later. And the desire to change – to be better, to be the person we were born to be. Action, thinking and feeling will get us there.

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The next 50: My 40 Days to Change For Good 2018

I’m turning 50 in 2019. When I was a kid I always imagined I’d live to be 100. It was my number I kept in mind when I made big decisions like: do something you love doing, make sure you have enough money for the life you want to live, be active, eat right, listen to the heart instead of the worried mind. I may be rounding up by a few years. The average life expectancy of the US male is 76.9 years. “Dead by 77”, that’s our manly motto! If you’re a US female add five years to that number. (If you’re curious, we’re 31st on the list, just below Costa Rica and just above Cuba – full list here.) However, since I consider myself –and you dear reader – decidedly above average, I’m sticking with the 100-year number. And I’m banking on good genes – my 87-year-old father was out on the tractor last time I visited. That means this year is (hopefully) my halfway mark. It’s the perfect time to dedicate some focused time and ask some big questions about what I want the next/last 50 to look like. Questions like: What do I carry with me across this threshold? What do I leave behind, no matter how enticing or safe feeling? What essential parts of me do I reclaim that I’ve lost track of over the years? I can think of no better way to spend my 40 days to change for good this year. I’m inspired! Also alternately scared, calm, enthusiastic – that’s a good mix of feelings for another powerful 40 days challenge. Won’t you join me? As always Day 40 begins November 11, Veterans Day and Day 0 ends on December 21, Winter Solstice, the day the sun begins to return. What’s your 40 Days to Change for Good? Let’s inspire each other to be the people we were meant to be.

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What’s it like in today’s chrysalis?

After a monarch caterpillar is done eating it forms a J shape on the bottom of a leaf and creates a green chrysalis. Inside this pupa, the caterpillar dissolves into a pile of goo. That pile of goo then takes 9 to 14 days to become a butterfly. When we enter a hero’s journey, we descend into the unknown. Who knows what we will transform into? All we know is it feels like being a pile of goo. And sometimes we notice that something is changing and growing, but often it just feels gooey and scary. It’s also where the work happens. It’s where we actually transform. We need all the stages to complete a journey but the action part happens in the unknown part. As a reminder, the outcome of the rest of today is unknown. As is every day for the rest of our lives. Each day is a chrysalis.

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Take a stand in the middle of the chrysalis

“I stood in this unsheltered place, ‘til I could see the face behind the face.” – Peter Gabriel Caterpillars enter the darkness and the shelter of the chrysalis. When we enter the unknown as humans it usually feels quite a bit more unsheltered than that. I don’t know if caterpillars get scared. But I know we do when we try to make a change. When we’re scared the antidote is bravery. When the outcome is unknown, bravery is required. When we want to make a change, bravery is required. We can literally ‘take a stand’ for bravery. Imagine all that is unknown, uncertain, scary, anything swirling around producing a queasy feeling. Imagine yourself standing strong and brave in the middle of it all. The process into the unknown and unpleasant is necessary. It’s the only way forward. Literally stand in place for 30 minutes….just kidding…30 seconds. Stand in your unsheltered place, in the eye of the storm until, like Peter Gabriel wrote, you can see the face behind the face.”

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Books to Support Your 40 Days To Change For Good

Books to Support Your 40 Days To Change For Good Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward by James O. Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente [Still the most useful and easily applicable book on personal change I’ve found yet. Highly recommended.] Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own And Other People’s Minds (Leadership for the Common Good) by Howard Gardner [Great research as to what makes people change their minds, and what doesn’t work. This work is one of the cornerstones of Quixote Consulting’s change and influencing work. Be forewarned: It’s very dry and dense]  Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth [A well-researched, readable look at the positive psychology of persistence.] Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey [Endlessly inspiring and entertaining, here are 161 famous creative artists’ rituals – from Mozart to Einstein] The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity At Work by Teresa Amabile, Steven Kramer [Completely in a work context. Repeated small successes combined with meaningful work lead to happiness. Small failures at meaningful work lead to unhappiness. Meaningless work is a straight path to unhappiness.] Gandhi An Autobiography – The Story of My Experiments with the Truth by Mahatma Gandhi [Surprisingly, it’s a page-turner. A fascinating and inspiring account of a man dedicated to personal change and through that his country and beyond] The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr [The ‘Taking Action: The Power of Positive Rituals’ chapter is a very nuts and bolts look at rituals and incremental change.] What You Can Change . . . and What You Can’t: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement by Martin E. Seligman [Especially recommended for those of you who like to know what the research has to say. There’s no self-help ‘Seven steps to lose those pounds, be loved by everyone and transform your life in just 20 seconds a day!” silliness here, just what science has found can be changed and what can’t.] The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller [Profoundly helpful and beautifully written, the title says it all. You’ll either know immediately it’s the book you need to read right now or you’re not ready for it…yet. Loss and sadness are either visiting you or they’re not. The chapter on ritual is from a spiritual/mythopoetic view.] The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg [Written from a journalistic viewpoint, it’s heavy on stories and light on actionable content. Three sections: individuals, organizations, societies] Leading Change by John P. Kotter [Exclusively aimed at change leaders in organizations, but the general principles are sound.] Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar [You’ll find a short section on rituals and negative (a ritual to NOT do something) rituals – which is an interesting concept]   Learn more about 40 Days to Change For Good here.

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It’s time to start thinking about your 2015 40 Days to Change for Good ritual!

Here’s my favorite tangible way to bring a larger perspective into this month and next, to refocus on what’s most important: it’s time again for 40 Days to Change for Good. This simple 40-day ritual of daily working-on-something-that-matters has been profoundly helpful to me and to many of your fellow newsletter and blog readers. This will be my sixth year of 40 days to change for good. It’s my favorite part of this season. Day 40 begins November 11 (Veterans Day) and Day Zero is December 21 (the Winter Solstice). Learn more in my e-book (free to you) here. What do you want to change for good? What ritual will support that? Now’s the time to start contemplating this question and prepare yourself for starting on Wednesday. This post is part of a series on using persistence to create lasting personal change for the better. Forty Days to a Change for Good is part of Quixote Consulting’s Change Quest change management training and Resiliency: Five Keys to Success training. Research shows it takes at least 30 days to make a positive change in your life that lasts. This post is part of a series by Rob Fletcher that examines what makes change initiatives work, what makes them fail, and how daily rituals support positive changes you want to make.

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40 Days to Turn Into Goo

What does that rather striking title mean? For me the most striking image of change in nature is the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Such wildly different life! And we love this story, don’t we? Like the ugly duckling that turns into a swan, like Cinderella being discovered, this transformation story gives us hope and inspires. But now the goo. Before the caterpillar becomes the butterfly, there is the chrysalis stage. In the chrysalis stage, the caterpillar enters and literally dissolves into a pile of goo. From this pile of goo the butterfly forms. This is not a stage in the change that can be skipped. That is exactly what happens to us when we either try to change for good or change happens to us. There is a period of bewilderment, of struggle, of lost-ness. If you’re feeling any of those queasy, gooey feelings, wonderful! You’re on your way to real change. The goo stage is a good thing, a necessary thing, no matter what our worried brains may critically comment. I’ve been feeling this ‘goo-feeling’ often during my 40 Days of noticing fear. If I didn’t have the strength of the larger framework of the 40 days I wouldn’t have the strength. Thank you 40 Days for Good! Here’s to 40 days of you turning into goo! This post is part of a series on using persistence to create lasting personal change for the better. Forty Days to a Change for Good is part of Quixote Consulting’s Change Quest change management training and Resiliency: Five Keys to Success training. 

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