1. Make the first step smaller than you ever have before. Then do this tiniest possible action each day for a week before you let yourself do more. Or …
2. Go all-in, all at once — but set an end-date, instead of facing “forever.” Make it a 7-day or 30-day challenge, and once you make it there, then decide if you want to keep going.
3. Make a bet with a friend.
4. Get a partner to make the change (the same change, or their own) with you.
5. Burn the boats. Make a commitment you can’t go back on — an action that’s easy to take now, but that makes it very hard for you to go back on in the future.
6. Instead of starting now, like you always do, set a start date for the change. This way, you teach your brain that it’s important. Use the time until then to plan.
7. Start a blog or podcast about your change, and share it with everyone you know. Instant accountability.
8. Increase the pain, fear, and guilt you associate with the way things are — instead of doing what most people do, which is everything they can to ignore or soften the pain.
9. Tell the handful of people in the world whose respect you most value about the change you’re making, and set up a system where you’ll report to them every day or week about your progress.
10. Do the Jerry Seinfeld technique: Post a calendar in a visible place, and draw a big, red X through every day when you successfully do your new habit. Get a streak going that you don’t want to break.
11. Commit to changing at home, but allowing yourself the indulgence when you’re out. (“Oil-free at home,” for example.)
12. Commit to changing just until a certain time each day. (“Raw til 4,” for example.)
13. Stop trying to change everything, and focus on changing just this one thing. Save the others for after you’ve built some momentum.
14. Set a massive goal, one that means way more to you than any single change. Then just make this particular change the first step.
15. Find someone else who has successfully made a change like yours, and do exactly what they did. Even better, ask them to coach you.
16. Join a group — online or in person — that exists to help people like you make this change.
17. Believe that you can change. This might sound like fluff, but it it’s not: having a sense of belief or faith that you’ll succeed dramatically increases the chances that you actually will. (See The Power of Habit for more about this idea.)
The thing is, any of these can be the way that changes everything. But it’s quite likely that the first, second, or third way you try, won’t.
Because the way to change is to go at it with the conviction that if this attempt doesn’t work, you’ll come back stronger with another one. And then another. Until you find the way — or most likely, the combination of ways — that makes it all click.
One thing is certain, though: the way that won’t work is putting off the change. Telling yourself it’s not that bad. Hoping it changes on its own.
Make it happen, because it’s sure not going to make itself.