Change Anything – Even Your Body!

May 26, 2011

Change Anything

After getting a review copy of The New York Times Bestselling book, Change Anything, by Joseph Grenny and his partners (see my earlier post), I decided to put the book to the test. The book lays out six vital behaviors that will support the change you wish to make.

The change I want to make is to be healthier. I know this is more difficult for some people than for others. It just happens to be the one thing I know that leads to many more positive attributes in life when you get it right. You know the old saying, “When you have your health, you have everything.”

The six vital behaviors that they lay out in the book are:


  1. Make the Undesirable Desirable – I find routine a drag, especially as it relates to staying healthy. I have counted calories everyday for four years; I lost 40 lbs. and kept those pounds off the entire time, but the process was mentally fatiguing. Same goes for strapping on the running shoes and pounding the pavement mile after mile. So what am I going to do then to make the undesirable desirable? I found a unique and exciting answer: participate in the Adventure Team Challenge Race with Erik Weihenmayer. The only blind man to summit Mount Everest, Erik will lead this year’s Stretch Expedition. Our team of three able-bodied and two disabled teammates will mountain bike, whitewater raft, zip line, climb, and rappel through the mountains and wilderness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains over the course of three days in June. Wow! I will get to be with some really interesting people doing a wide variety of activities that I love.
  2. Surpass Your Limits – “A mind stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes. This Challenge puts me face to face with some daunting mental and physical stretches. I have served on the Outward Bound National Advisory Board for many years, and I used to do all of the Challenge’s activities regularly. In fact, I used to run 5 miles every morning on Hurricane Island through the woods and then jump into the 40-degree Atlantic Ocean and call this fun! Today I roll out of bed, drink a protein shake, and go to work. To say the Challenge will push me past my limits of comfortable is an understatement.
  3. Harness Peer Pressure – Revealing that I was going to do this challenge to family and friends brings peer pressure. Once I decided to participate, I began working out and challenging myself so that I wouldn’t disappoint my team on the mountain–another element of peer pressure. In addition, the team decided to raise money for those who could not afford this challenge and for No Barriers, a group that elevates the lives of the disabled. As friends began to donate money, I began adding miles and time to my workouts, so that I won’t let them down either! If you would like to join in the craziness, please go to Crowdrise and pledge your support.
  4. Find Strength in Numbers – It is easy enough to hit the snooze on your alarm clock if you’re alone. A spouse or a trainer might help you get out of bed and work out, but a team is best. The first morning of training we were all to show up at Lake Harriett for a 3 mile run. It just happened to be early April, cold, and raining (Why should I or anyone be surprised about this in Minnesota?). I showed up and no one was there. Boy was that dispiriting. Three quarters of the way around the lake, I found the group running the opposite direction. I let go of my frustration and joined in to do the lake again going the opposite direction. I could not have done 4.5 miles had it not been for the group. Turns out that we were waiting in different places and I did not see them. The other day we went running at Hyland Park Reserve to better simulate the terrain we will find in Colorado sans altitude. We discovered a great deal of mud and turned the training into a “mud fun run.” It is all about the numbers–my teammates and the people sponsoring me on this adventure. It feels like there are a lot of people behind me, supporting me even if they are not on the adventure with me. It means a lot!
  5. Design Rewards and Demand Accountability – The structure of the event provides a great deal of reward. I will be able to support and be supported by my team members as we accomplish this rugged feat together. We’re also providing an opportunity to someone with a disability to do something challenging and unique. The accountability emanates mainly from the teamwork aspect. I have also enlisted the use of Nike GPS app on iPhone which allows friends on Facebook to cheer me on during workout by clicking on like!
  6. Change the Environment – Although aspects of my training will be in same old places, like the fitness center in my home or the lakes in Minneapolis that I love to run, what is new is running on trails rather than pavement. It really has changed up the location and the times of my runs. Normally I would not run after work, but I am now because that’s when the team trains. Team accountability and the deadline of the challenge have also helped me be more committed to exercising while I’m traveling. Today, in San Francisco, I spent a good part of my morning running on the waterfront. It really did make me feel reinvigorated about my day. I feel like I can Change Anything.

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