“Behavior change is hard” is a common lament among do-gooders. They’re referring to voluntary changes in people’s practices, like eating less beef or consistently wearing a condom during sex. Despite limited success, one popular approach to motivating behavioral change is through advertising – especially public-service announcements (PSAs). What many PSAs lack, though, is a comparable alternative to the naughty action: okay, I shouldn’t smoke, but what’s the satisfying substitute?
Maybe that’s part of why this ad from Sodastream worked so well on me: it suggested an equivalent product at an equivalent price (and less hassle):
But what also worked was that it made me feel stupid for buying soft-drink bottles when a fine alternative exists. Shame, indeed!
Undoubtedly this commercial doesn’t have the same effect on everyone. But, for me, watching it one time provoked a quick, profound, and lasting change. Could ads for the Impossible Whopper be tailored to have the same effect?
I’ve distilled years of training, research, and practice into a short-and-sweet book on setting and achieving serious goals. The title is How to Change the World (Or Your Corner of It): Planning and Working for Success. It’s available from many sources, including Amazon and these major vendors.
Here’s the blurb:
Do you want to change the world—or yourself? To improve your work? To make the best decisions possible? Then this brief but comprehensive guide to planning, doing, and revising is for you.
Washington, D.C., like other cities around the world, is trying to eliminate traffic deaths through a program called Vision Zero. Inspired by Sweden, this has been a model project in many ways, but the lack of positive results is testing its proponents.
Effecting change per se is my topic here, rather than the specific alterations that D.C. et al. have wrought as part of Vision Zero. Continue reading →
On March 6, I accompanied the irrepressible Emily Taylor of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative to lobby members of Congress. Specifically, we urged them to add ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome) to a list of diseases eligible for research funding from the Department of Defense. This post contains some reflections on the experience. Continue reading →
In a recent op-ed article in the Guardian, Andrew Gilligan draws a political lesson from his tenure as cycling commissioner in London. It’s worth a full read. Gilligan points out that proposals to expand bicycling infrastructure – lanes and paths – have great popular support in Britain but often aren’t put into action. He blames politicians for succumbing to opposition by a vocal minority or for simply lacking initiative.
How might cycling advocates overcome roadblocks to democratically supported improvements? Continue reading →
My post-election analysis was that, galling as it is, progressives should emulate the Tea Partiers’ tactics, because they have been so successful. Others have said the same thing. Now a group of “former congressional staffers” has actually written a free guide to show us how – at least in dealing with members of Congress.