"Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard" by Chip Heath and Dan HeathDecember 25, 2022 4:02 Comments 
If we want to make or inspire consistent, long-term change, we need to change habits. "Switch" by brothers Chip and Dan Heath provides some tools to build and reinforce habits - in ourselves and in others.
The Heaths identify three primary factors in making any change:
- Your analytical brain, which they label "The Elephant"
- Your emotional brain, which they label "The Rider" (of the elephant)
- The Path, which are the external factors outside of you
When implementing change, you need to consider all three of these factors. It is useful to identify which of these factors you can control and to address those factors first.
Here are a few specific examples of their advice.
Shrink the change. Set small goals and increase them over time, so the change is not overwhelming.
Point to the Destination. A teacher's first-grade class was struggling behaviorally and academically. She began emphasizing "You will be third graders soon", repeating this phrase often in her tuition. The students internalized it and began to adopt behaviors consistent with older kids.
Identify a specific behavior you want to change. For example, researchers at West Virginia University wanted to convince Americans to consume a healthier diet. Rather than provide broad advice on nutrition, they focused on getting people to drink low-fat milk instead of whole milk. This was an identifiable goal that everyone understood and it was successful.
Create Action Triggers: When this happens, I will do that. It is easier to reinforce a habit if you tie it to a specific action. For example, "I will go to the gym after I drop off my daughter at school". If we associate one action with another, it makes it easier to continue it.
One thing to avoid is what they call the Fundamental Attribution Error - assuming that an action or lack of action is primarily due to a flaw in the person. This thinking leads to a fixed mindset, which prevents us from improving ourselves. A growth mindset is preferred, as it motivates us to improve ourselves.
The authors’ style is a good mix of academic and casual. They present case studies but focus on the human aspects and the outcomes of those studies. The book is broken into sections, describing ways to change the Elephant, the Rider, or the Path.
Most of the book focuses on how we can change the habits and behaviors of others. But you can use many methods to improve your own life. I found it useful and entertaining.