A Two-week Challenge

10 05 2010

It only takes about a month to gain a new habit. Seriously. And honestly, it doesn’t even matter if you fail a few times (ahem, a lot)┬áduring that month. But even that month depends on the first two weeks. So really, it takes about 2 weeks to kick off a new habit (or stop one).

For example: You want to go to the gym four times a week. That’s a good number, gives you some room for missing out. Or eat more vegetables. Or pray daily. Or write a journal / blog. Or not smoke.

All you have to do is: (1) make a commitment to just 1 week and (2) connect it to a “trigger” action.

(1) A week is short and definable, it’s easy to see the end of it. If you “really want” to do something, you can usually use that to get through the first week.

(2) Find a realistic time to put it in your schedule. Waking up an hour early to do it probably won’t work. But going to the gym after work, or praying between brushing your teeth and going to bed – those are reasonable. Smokers – a little trickier as there is a chemical addiction, but deal with the physical habit. Try chewing gum. Take a smoking break like before, take a long stick of gum, and chew it slowly, by biting off small bits. In other words, make it as similar to smoking as possible. Try to connect it to your real schedule so that something you already do will “trigger” the newest habit.


Why aren’t you?

5 05 2010

How do you change your behavior? How do you change a whole group’s behavior? ┬áThere are things you do that you shouldn’t, and things you should be, but you don’t. The problem is, most people start by asking the wrong questions.

I should eat healthier. Why? What are the benefits? Why is it important? Why should I?

That’s the wrong question. You already know you should. Here’s the right one:

Why aren’t you?

Find out what’s stopping you from doing what you should be doing, and take away the barriers. Like this:

I’m not eating healthier because I’m too busy to really care. Because I like the taste of junk food. Because I need my extra-calorie-laden mocha every morning. Because I really don’t know how to eat healthier. Because my body’s addicted to sugar or salt or fat and I don’t even know it. Because I don’t know how to cook. I don’t like to cook. I don’t like vegetables. I’m a meat-and-potato kind of person.

If you really dig down, you might be surprised what’s really stopping you from doing what you should.

You should fire the unproductive employee. You should finish that project on time. You should stop smoking. You should spend more time with your kids.

So why aren’t you?

Discovering Tegu: The Next Generation in Blocks

7 02 2010

I discovered a new toy: blocks!

When I was a kid, blocks looked something like this:

They were simple and easy to use. And. while we enjoyed them, we all knew Legos were better. In fact, as a kid, I remember think blocks were pretty boring and stupid (and not colorful and plastic).

So, why sell these boring toys? They’d been around for ages… kids played with them before plastic with all its wonderful colors was invented. Plus, they’re hardy – they last a lot longer. Still. . . I was kid. They were dull.

Then, a few years ago, a lot of adult friends started purchasing… blocks! Ok, well, technically they’re planks:

These are Keva planks. They look pretty awesome, right? The thing that made these different was precision. These planks are milled to be highly precise – perfect 90 degree angles, exact length and width for each one. This means they balance better. You can stack them end to end pretty high. It’s impressive. A new take on an old toy.

Well, I thought that was about as innovative as plain old blocks could get. Until I discovered the newest version:

These are Tegu. Notice they’re doing something blocks shouldn’t be able to do? They’re defying gravity! That’s because they have magnets inside. Pretty awesome. They’re also sold out at the moment.

So, what’s the point of this evolution of blocks? It makes me think of the evolution of theology. First, we start out simple and plain. Then we add a little color, some nuances. Eventually, we refine it to a precise set. See, we couldn’t do that before because we just didn’t have the technology to cut it so precisely (the archeological, sociological, historical, literary advances that allow us to cut with more precision).

Now, it seems like we’re learning how to put magnets in our theology. We’re making it do things it never did before. It’s kinda scary. And it goes against everything we think we know. It starts doing things like saying races are equal… and women can preach… and maybe homosexuals can marry. We’re seeing theology developed to support things we never imagined it could.

I don’t know where this takes us. Are Tegu magnetic blocks still blocks? Are they just re-defining how blocks act? How far do we have to go to lose the name “block”? Are Legos blocks? For my part, I respect what people are doing with theology. They’re trying to keep the value and still make it work for our modern, media-distracted, plastic-toy loving society. Sure, sometimes we’ll get it wrong. But at least we’re trying.