How to Change Your Life

Most of us are fuck-ups.

Even an alpha male has an area of life where he could improve. Maybe a guy has his money right but his girl walks all over him. Maybe a guy has a strong pimp hand but can’t pay his bills.

Or maybe you’re a moronic sexless fat fuck headed towards a lonely life of Metabolic Syndrome and mouth breathing.

Recognizing that we can all improve in some areas of our life, I’ve never had a haters’ reaction to the so-called “self-help” and “management” genres of books.

Yet those books almost uniformly suck. The books suck because most guys don’t need someone telling them that, “Everything is going to be alright,” or that, “You’re OK, I’m OK.” Most guys need solid, practical advice.

I finally found a book that is useful. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.

Switch opens with an example validating something I’ve done for years:

[In an experiment, movie-goes were given free buckets of popcorn.] Some of them got their free popcorn in a medium-size bucket, and others got a large bucket—the sort of huge tub that looks like it might once have been an above-ground swimming pool. Every person got a bucket so there’d be no need to share. The researchers responsible for the study were interested in a simple question: Would the people with bigger buckets eat more?

The sneaky researchers weighed the buckets before and after the movie, so they were able to measure precisely how much popcorn each person ate. The results were stunning: People with the large buckets ate 53 percent more popcorn than people with the medium size. That’s the equivalent of 173 more calories and approximately 21 extra hand-dips into the bucket.

If you come over to my crib, you’ll see that I eat on smaller dishes. I have small spoons and plates. I started doing this years ago after reading a psychological study noting that we evaluate portion size relative to dish size. If you eat on a big plate, the same 12 oz. rib eye is not going to seem like as much food as it would on a smaller plate.

Without realizing it, I had done what the Heath Brothers call a “switch.” I had made a small change (plate my food on smaller dishes) that leads to a big change (fat loss/not gaining as much weight when binging).

I don’t need a major life overhaul. My life is pretty awesome, actually. Instead of looking at major ways to change my life, I look for small, incremental changes.

Recently I increased my number of weekly workouts by 20%. I did this by making a “switch.”

I have a long commute and sometimes get my ass kicked at work. Instead of going home to change into my workout clothes, I pack a gym bag.

Before leaving for work, I pack my gym bag. I do this every day, even though I do not train every weekday.

I do this because leaving for the gym takes willpower. After a long day, I want to have sex, eat, goof off on the Internet, or watch Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It takes willpower to leave my apartment for the gym.

It does not, however, take much will power to drive from work to the gym. Instead of thinking, “I gotta leave my comfortable home for the cold, unforgiving world of iron,” I think, “Why not catch a quick workout before heading home?”

Small change (gym bag) has lead to a big change (20% more workouts).

Do you see how I was able to change my life by doing something so small that it seems trivial?

Pretty cool, right?

Pick up your copy of Switch.

  • Jason

    Thanks for the review, sounds liek a very interesting book!

  • The Quest For 50

    I can definitely relate to the long LA commute.

    I try to go to the gym in the morning, but going straight after work does have its advantages.

  • Andrew

    You can eat as much meat and fat as you want and not get fat. When you just eat meat and fat there is a point where you can’t eat anymore it’s called the ‘stop’ but you could easily fit in apple pie and ice cream. Don’t need to worry about portion sizes when you eat caveman fare.

  • John

    Dat pragmatic thinkin

  • countcervantes

    Many of these changes involve making a logical / planned decision now that will overrule your immediate emotional decision lately (or otherwise affect the modifiers affecting it’s payoff). The gym bag is a good example.

    A good rule for compulsive shoppers – never buy something the first time you see it. Always treat the first sight as recon and make the decision to buy/not later and then execute on the second trip.

  • Zac

    This reminds me of the book “The Power of Habit”
    which basically breaks down how everything we do is habitual and the only way to break a habit is to realize what cues you into your habits. Once you start to see your cues it really helps you stop the things you don’t want to do. They key is to replace them with positive habits. I definitely want to check out switch now.