“Any important change is not going to feel like a steady, inevitable march toward victory”

This is from Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, a book that had been languishing on my reading list for months, but which I finally picked up last week for my semi-secret project(!). What I love most about it is how the authors flesh out a very simple, easy-to-remember framework with loads of examples of significant changes achieved in very different contexts and at all levels: individual, organizational, and societal.

One of the most powerful lessons of Switch is that big changes are often the result of a series of tiny actions. What will resonate with anyone who works in human services—or for that matter, who has tried to make a significant change in her own life—is the caveat that change “won’t simply be an unbroken string of small wins…More typically, you take one step forward and 1.3 steps back and 2.7 steps forward and then 6 steps to the side…” Such is the non-linear trajectory of all our lives, and anyone hoping to spur behavioral change (and to track those outcomes) will need to take this into account.

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