Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | December 5, 2011


I’ve been reminded that I haven’t written very much about the book I’m reading entitled Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard. I was reading Julie’s post from yesterday (although it always feels like it’s today’s post since it goes up in the wee hours of the morn for me) and she was berating herself about not getting her attitude toward food changed as quickly as she would like. The book is really geared more toward the business person and getting change to happen within an organization, but the points that the authors make are applicable for individuals as well. There are three things that should be aligned in order to make change happen: the Rider, the Elephant and the Path.

The Rider is the logical, thinking, planning part of our brain. It is really good at coming up with reasons to do something. It responds well to analysis but can get bogged down in all the details and the hugeness of the problem. The Elephant is the emotional side of our brain. It responds well to emotional appeals and gets caught by the desire for more immediate gratification. The Path is the way to get to the change. So the trick is to understand the reason for the change – to get healthier; to have an emotional tie-in for the elephant to grab on to – picturing myself going on a hiking trip with the girl child; and design the path to get there – take up yoga and start seriously working on the elliptical and with the walking. The additional part of it all is to make the goal concrete. To get healthier is a really nebulous goal. To be able to hike five miles with a 30 lb. pack is a concrete goal. The authors used an example of a first grade classroom. This class had kids who had never been in school before as well as some who had been in kindergarten. There were kids who didn’t know any of the alphabet and few numbers and kids who could read kindergarten sight words. The teacher set the goal for the kids that they would all be third-graders by the end of the year. That was both a concrete goal for the kids and an emotional hook. Third graders! Those big kids who know so much! Cool! Then she set the path by naming them all scholars. A scholar was someone who wanted to learn and tried their best at all times. They would tell everyone who came into the class that they were scholars and would define that for the visitor. They were encouraged to share what they learned everyday at home. By spring break, the teacher held a graduation ceremony for them to be second graders. By summer break, most of them were reading and doing math at a third grade level.

So, while I’m not done with the book yet, I’ve got some good stuff so far. I haven’t been able to figure out exactly what I want to set as a goal, though. I mean, get healthy is a goal, but what exactly do I mean by that? I’m going to have to think on this some more.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with yesterday and today’s challenges: 1)  Admire a piece of art, either in person, in a book, or online.  2) Share the names of your 3 favorite in-season fruits and vegetables.

I did Sunday’s challenge by sitting in church looking at our Tiffany stained glass windows and listening to the choir sing Part I of Handel’s Messiah. I love choral music like that. And here’s a picture of one of the windows:   They really look better than this with richer colors, but it’s really hard to photograph stained glass.

Today’s challenge, hmm, 3 seasonal fruits and vegetables, wait here while I go find a list of seasonal produce . . . .I’m back! Okay, here goes: apples, pumpkin, kale, arugula, potatoes, and radishes.



  1. Would it help if you called it “last night’s post” or even “the most current post?” Lol, I know, my nocturnal-ness kind of messes with everyone.

    I’m going to need to read this concept of the rider, elephant, and path over a few more times before it starts to sink in more easily. So far though, I really like the idea. But then, I’m a HUGE fan of brain work in general. 😉

    The windows are lovely, thank you. Not sure about the in seasonal produce right now either. Apples and pears for sure. Winter broccoli? (Oh wow, I could hit up the Farmer’s Market on my bike ride Saturday! I go right past a newish small one.)

    • Your days are my nights and my days are your nights. We’re like a parallel universe or something! The book is interesting. I’m not sure it’s what I need exactly, but it’s definitely worth thinking about.

  2. The windows are beautiful.

    The rider, the elephant and the path…makes sense.

    For me when the time is right for change it is right, right now and I have to jump or I’ll miss it.

  3. […] change. I read a bit more in the book on change I’ve been reading. (previous posts here and here) One of the ways to help a change happen is to find the places where it already did happen. For […]

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