Nudging The Ones You Love

idea generation

Effecting change is a wish of many of us. But usually it remains a wish, and often it can become a burden, an annoyance, an irritating behavior, and a pestilence. Why? In the way-smarter-than-me words of Seth Godin (from his book Tribes, and from his blog):

People don’t believe what you tell them.  They rarely believe what you show them.  They often believe what their friends tell them.  They always believe what they tell themselves. 

I think the biggest long term impact is to somehow change their behaviors without forcing the issue. Nudge-like stuff. Change is hard. Really freaking  hard – James Altucher says so. And I like James. Because he writes silly and interesting things about dead bodies, sometimes.

In the realm of changes toward more physical activity, especially in the evening, here are some ideas I’ve had recently. Start by setting positive context for behaviors that will lead to better health, happiness, mobility, and on (which doesn’t have to mean weight loss, but could):

  • after a meal, “I feel like a short walk – want to come with me?”
  • at the end of a meal (regardless how you actually feel), “Wow, that was filling. Definitely no dessert for me.”
  • walking the dog, “want to come with me?” If NO, then other nudge-like methods, “I’m taking the dog out, want to come and talk about that house project we are working on / that crap that happened to you at work / your parents’ upcoming visit / what we want to do on vacation?”
  • either all at once or gradually, get rid of or fix visual reminders of unwanted behavior: messy environment, snack foods, dirty exercise clothes
  • YOU DO the habits that they will need to do. Set a visual, rather than verbal, example.
  • start training for something. Warrior dash, office arm-wrestling, whatever.
  • don’t personally do the bad habits they should not do: popcorn at movies, extra appetizers, watching TV all night, saying you will workout or do something physical and then bailing out. If you say you are going to work out, fucking go work out.

For lasting change, they really do have to want to drink even if you’ve led them to the water. I don’t think there is much way around this. Again, see Seth’s quote above. Robb freaking Wolf could not change members of his family who had chronic and very uncomfortable diseases that might have been reversed with lifestyle changes. That should not be depressing, per se, but rather help all of us to understand that folks need to come into knowledge from their own divination.

It has to be their idea.

Even if it’s your idea. It has to be their idea.

Let them steal it, and honestly, you BOTH will win. Honestly, isn’t what you wanted for them to change –  not for them to bow before you as a fountain of lifehacker knowledge?

Lagom: Enough (Already!)

Lagom

Lagom as glassesSwedes have some lovely words, but the loveliest in meaning if not in tongue-lapping satisfaction is ‘lagom’.

Simply, it means ‘enough’, but not just the word or concept ‘enough’ – it means the whole embracing and accepting and valuing the idea of ‘enough’. In English, we have that “Serenity Prayer”, which is in a similar vein, but with far too many words.

Lagom is anti-perfectionist

Lagom is satisfied

Lagom is peaceful

Lagom is self-actualized

There are a few good attempts to describe the concept on the interwebs. There are even blogs about trying to live that life, though some of those blogs have since petered out. Silly blogosphere.

I’d like to explore this idea more in the future, and, of course, in my present. Because honestly, who that is reading this DOESN’T already have/do enough?

This Is Andrea Working At Yoga

andrea spine twist yoga

I fell for yoga hard. It was just over 3 years of a relationship before I decided to take a break. That break lasted 18 months.

I’m now into month 2 of the return, and found this amazing quote buried deep in a blog post on a yoga website whose domain name I can’t help but admire: YogaDork.com

See – isn’t that awesome? Their Facebook page even shows the Rolling Stones hanging out somewhere, Mick Jagger in a shoulder stand on a huge rug.

Now, for more awesomeness, here is the quote. If you love your life or are completely numb to it, you’ll not have much of a reaction. BUT, if you are currently a SEEKER of self, of being alive, of living, try not to get all misty-eyed when you read, re-read, and absorb it.

Let your heart break for all that you’re losing and all that you’re scared of. But also let it crack open with the profound joy of falling in love with who you really are. – Jay Fields

Prison Food Ain’t What it Used To Be: Bechamel, Croquettes and Cupcakes at Alcatraz

Even in 1946, one of the most notorious prisons in the world was serving what would be considered real, homestyle, quality food. Check out this menu and see if you can tell just from the name what “Puree Mongole” is – I can’t. Sounds kind of . . . dubious. And if not dubious, then a little bit strange. (In reality, Puree Mongole is a soup made from split pea and tomato soups put together with more veggies.)

Despite being an obvious attempt to use up leftover soups and minimize waste, it was a favorite dish in high-falutin’ restaurants in New York in the 1920s. Apparently it trickled down to become prison fare.

Alcatraz menu, courtesy of sfgate.com

Alcatraz menu, courtesy of sfgate.com

Notice the variety of foods, however. Three squares a day, with coffee twice a day, desserts that actually sound good (spiced crab apples!), and “fresh milk”, which may very well be RAW milk.

Let’s compare that to this month’s menu at my local school district: Albuquerque, NM:

aps-school-lunch-2013

So we are looking at the Albuquerque Public School District’s high school lunch menu. High schoolers are as close as we get to prison age, hence the comparison. Where the Alcatraz inmates were getting homemade soup, breaded cod, broiled tomatoes and mashed potatoes for lunch (that’s ONE lunch), growing and thinking bodies are getting CHICKEN SMACKERS with potatoes, white bread, jello, gravy, coleslaw and fruit. Yipes. At least there’s fruit. I guess.

Now I am absolutely not forgetting that the quality of regular civilian food in 1946 compared to today has slid down the same mass-produced slope. Chicken Smackers are normal food that grown adults purchase and eat themselves at home all the time. That’s not the point of this rant. Grown adults, while battered from all sides with conflicting dietary advice to the point of weariness and ultimately rebellion, still pick and pay for their own food. Kids in school and prisoners do not.

And in school, it gets worse for the kids that need good food the most. The kids whose family situation makes it hard for them to get breakfast before going to school? They get extra-shafted, coming up in my next post . . .

The Anti-Antihero: Heart of Darkness

(NO specific spoilers for Breaking Bad episode 5.11)

It is fascinating to me that after the latest Breaking Bad episode, more than half of viewers polled believe that Walt demonstrated a glimmer of caring and sincerity to an old ally. Such deception! Such willingness to hope and wish and pray that NO ONE is ever 100% evil, that there must be a human still down in there waiting to be redeemed. That is the antihero ideal: a front-and-center villian that is able to feel affection. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an antihero. Bender from Futurama is an antihero. Hell, even Homer Simpson is an antihero. This is my posit: Walter White is the ANTI-antihero.

In the latest episode, there is a vague implication that he’s showing heart – but this could be to contrast the later re-reveal that Walt did indeed harm an innocent (and frame it on someone else) to successfully reinforce loyalty, and now the object of that loyalty-grab has figured it all out. Very impressive. Did he, didn’t he, how did he? Viewers with tight analytical skills have solved this.

But now, those that Walt has deceived and those that he is still openly manipulating KNOW with clarity anew. They really, truly, know what and whom they are dealing with, even if the knowledge is difficult to accept; even those on the show have a hard time accepting pure evil as a possibility. They are gobsmacked at the prospect, slack jaws hanging at the cusp of dislocation.

So it seems clear that Walt is evil. Really, really evil. Like, not-ever-having-a-prospect-of-a-shred-of-humanity evil. There is no “anti-hero” here. There is no heart of gold. There is only blackness. Accept that some things are 100%, even in television-land. And thank gawd for Vince Gilligan to stick with it.

Five episodes left.