We intellectually know what is good for us. Brocolli is good; Twinkies are bad. Soda is bad; water is good. Walking is good; while laying in front of the TV eating Twinkies and drinking soda (and eating potato chips) is bad. However, eating broccoli and getting in our daily step goal is hard to do. Why is it we know what is good for us, but it is hard to do what is good for us? Or a better question might be how do we do more of what is good for us? (This is a particularly relevant question right now because some potato chips are calling to me).
I have a theory that one way is to have an inciting moment, which prompts us to set goals, and the way we reach our goals is by changing our habits.
Imagine that all the laying around while watching TV, eating Twinkies, and drinking soda cause you to gain an unwanted 10 pounds. One day you are bending over to pet the dog, and your back goes out. Maybe this is the first time your back goes out, and you assume it’s because of the extra weight and lack of exercise. So you set yourself a goal of taking off one pound a week until you are 10 pounds lighter. To do that, you decide to walk 5,000 steps a day. After one week of intermittently walking at lunch or after dinner, you realize you have a better chance of success if you walk early in the morning before work. The next week, each day starts with a walk, and after two weeks, it becomes a habit. A day without an early morning walk feels a little off.
I wonder if the work of engaging members is like this too? We know so many neat things we could do, but much of our time is doing what we always do. Maybe the way to reach our goals is to set some new habits. Small ones. Something that takes 10 minutes. Maybe that something will become so rewarding, so we don’t want to have a day without it!
- Priming people for participation
- Focus on experience before focusing on the paperwork
- Micro-volunteering opportunities for virtual events