These Strategies Can Help You Start a Cascade of Positive Change in Someone’s Personal Life


    The Internet is awash with advice regarding self-improvement-most of it well-meaning, even helpful to many. But what would you tell someone who has a lot going on in their life? With their hands full of work, household responsibilities, social commitments, or even personal issues, would you recommend that they network more? Learn a new skill or work on a personal project in their spare time? With limited opportunities to implement positive change, you might want to offer that one piece of advice which can actually cascade into bigger improvements down the line. Here are some strategies which may prove effective:

    Adopting the right attitude

    For a lot of people, the biggest obstacle to improvement lies within the mind. This subject is the focus of study and discussion in Carol Dweck’s influential work, Mindset. Believing that our abilities are predetermined-that effort equates to failure and success should be easy-makes a person shy away from challenges. The big takeaway from this book is that anyone can get better, but only if they shift their attitude from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

    With this change in attitude, one can embrace the value of struggle and failure as factors necessary for improvement. Instead of being discouraged by difficulty, their motivation will increase and fuel further hard work. By teaching someone to cultivate a growth mindset, you’re empowering them to apply a positive attitude in all of their future endeavors.

    Setting habit chains in motion

    Self-improvement often comes down to a matter of habits-breaking bad ones and developing good ones. This process can be difficult, but sometimes a domino effect can make it easier. Take workplace safety, for instance; a competentpersonal injury attorney can win you fair compensation for any accident at work, but you’d still wish that it had been prevented instead.

    The feeling that employers aren’t doing their utmost to care for workers can lead to a negative spiral affecting morale, individual productivity, and overall company performance. Yet tip that domino the other way, and matters turn around on multiple fronts, as Alcoa found when they improved workplace safety. This is the power of the keystone habit, as discussed by author Charles Duhigg. Teach someone to identify their keystone habit-it could be a commitment to exercise, reading, or writing in their journal-and they can witness the domino effect for positive changes in their lives.

    Using feedback loops

    What if you’re trying to help someone who has a healthy attitude, and is already doing some small things right, but is being weighed down by a negative context? The people around us, and society as a whole, can often play the role of naysayers in our efforts to improve. Overcoming this problem can require a variety of approaches, but at the core you’ll want to encourage the right feedback loops.

    Simple tactics such as the use of visual cues can remind us to stick with positive actions in the face of pressure to revert back to the mean and neglect our improvement. Design a simple feedback loop that works, and anyone can apply it to overcome negativity and stay their course.

    We don’t always get a chance to have extended interactions with people or provide continuous mentorship and guidance. If you have just one shot at it, pass on these strategies to someone you’d like to help out. In time, they will take charge and build on these steps to keep getting better.