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Change Anything QA

Win a Copy of Change Anything

We’re only three weeks away from launching our newest book, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, and we want to give you the chance to win the complete VitalSmarts series of books including signed copies of Change Anything, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations, and Influencer. We’ll also throw in a $20 Amazon gift card (Total prize valued at $100).

Mandatory Entry:
Pre-order Change Anything and forward your receipt to with “Change Anything Giveaway” in the subject line before Wednesday, March 30 at 11:59p.m. MT. (Note: If you already purchased Change Anything, you can also enter by forwarding your receipt.)

Extra Entries: (send a separate e-mail for each entry)

  • Subscribe to Crucial Skills via RSS or e-mail using the links on the sidebar, then e-mail us and let us know you subscribed.
  • Use the buttons below to share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or your favorite social networking Web site, then e-mail us a link to the individual tweet or update. (Note: You can do this once a day until the giveaway ends.).


  • You must pre-order Change Anything (the mandatory entry) before your extra entries will be accepted.
  • Send an individual e-mail using “Change Anything Giveaway” as the subject for each entry, and include your name and address, as well as the information required for each entry (see above).
  • This giveaway will end on March 30 at 11:59p.m. MT. One winner will be chosen using and then e-mailed directly. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Please note that this giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only.

About Change Anything:
So often, we want to make big changes but lack the resolve to see them through. We can’t seem to summon the necessary willpower to take on huge challenges like saving for retirement, earning a promotion, quitting smoking, increasing productivity, or losing weight. But it turns out, willpower has little to do with whether or not people succeed at changing bad behavior.

In their new book, Change Anything, the New York Times bestselling authors of Crucial Conversations and Influencer, show us that we have a lot less control over our behavior than we think we do. However, we can affect the influences that govern our behavior and that puts the power to change back in our control. With a clearer understanding of the science behind personal change, we can become ten times more successful at changing anything.

Influencer QA

Janet: Tools to be on time

Janet McEwen

Change Challenger Janet shares her change plan to be on time…once and for all.

Change Anything
I was on time for my birth, but it has been a struggle ever since. When I am on time, I feel calm and really good. When I am not – which is far too often – I feel stressed and can just feel my immune system drain.

I have been working in earnest to change this behavior for 15 years. However, with help from the Change Anything challenge, this could be the year I change my life.

Changing my behavior is especially important for my career. I have been with my new employer for two years. Where my former employer had a relaxed attitude about starting times for staff meetings, my new employer is much different. We start meetings on time. So far, I have been on time to group meetings but it has not been easy. My goal is to relax so I can contribute my best to the company. To do that, I really need to get my rushing problem under control.

Using the Change Anything model, here are the crucial moments I’ve identified:

  • When I’m going to sleep and want to read “just one more chapter”.
  • When I watch the Today Show and get into the shower late.
  • When I have 5 minutes before I need to leave to be on time and I decide to do just one more task.

The vital behaviors I’ve identified:

  • Turn off the lights at a specific time each night, depending on when I need to wake up.
  • Get breakfast out of the way before the Today Show.
  • Shower during the local news.
  • When I’m in my office, stop any activity or tasks 5 minutes before any meetings start.
  • When I’m at home or outside the office, stop any activity or tasks 10 minutes before I have to leave.

I am definitely making progress. One of my coaches suggested I focus on what is going well rather than solely on what is not going well. It was then I realized that although I continue to struggle with leaving my house at 8:05 am for work, I do arrive early for work meetings, restaurant meetings with friends, and church.

Last week, I realized I have no skin in the game. In other words, aside from feeling bad, I had no other consequences to not leave home at 8:05. I have now placed $250 in a specially designated savings account. I have decided that for each day I leave home later than 8:05, I will donate $5 to a charity I dislike. If I do not leave on time any day in a week, I will give an extra $10 for a potential total of $35/week. I have selected a pair of earrings I would like to buy that cost $208. That means I cannot afford to slip up too often or I will not be able to afford the earrings.

I’ve also added author David Maxfield and my sister Patty as my coaches. This has made a real difference as I no longer feel I’m writing a diary for myself, but that I’m blogging for my team.

I’ve gone through the stages the authors expected – excitement then discouragement. But by adding tools to my toolbox (skin in the game, a daily log, and coaches) I’m finding it’s easier. I also am finding that as I become comfortable with the tools, I’m getting ready to make a second commitment related to exercise. So, I’ll be adding that plan during the next couple of weeks.

Influencer QA

Brennan: Being both the scientist and the subject

Brennan Cartwright

Change Challenger Brennan shares how he has been both the scientist and the subject to help achieve his goals.

Change Anything

As I’ve begun my change journey and created a plan using the Change Anything model, the thing that has most impressed me has been how important it is to be a change scientist studying ourselves. Over the years, I’ve read books and attended many support groups that rely on the typical science to overcome sexual addictions. However, using the Change Anything model has really helped me figure out the ways in which I am different from the norm.

For example, people recommend those who struggle with sexual addiction should increase their time at the gym because it relieves tension. As I pondered my own crucial moments, I realized that for me, the gym creates crucial moments. There are a lot of beautiful people at the gym and watching those people not only fills me with a lot of sexual charge, but it also makes me feel depressed that I don’t look good. When I come home from the gym, I’m depressed and often binge eat. Next thing I know, I’m spending time on the computer indulging my addiction. I realized I needed to create vital behaviors to combat these moments such as making sure I don’t go home to an empty house after the gym. This was a breakthrough, because by standard addiction literature, the gym was supposed to help me, not create more temptation, right?

I’ve also been impressed at how much stronger this change plan is now that I’ve incorporated strategies in all six areas of influence. I feel like I’m really tackling my problem from all sides. In the past I’d set up structural barriers to avoid the problem and when I’d mess up, I’d blame my lack of personal motivation. I realize now that the barriers were nothing more than an extra challenge to jump over before diving into the behavior. This next week, I will write a journal entry visiting my default future and one describing the positive results I expect to achieve because of this change.

It was a little hard to come up with social influences as sexual addiction isn’t typically aired out in public in our society. But I’ve got a few friends who also struggle with these things and we’ve developed a google doc where we each report on our actions every day. I will also share my portion of this spreadsheet with my wife weekly (since it will be much more motivating to report to her than others who also slip up and are more forgiving). I also have a few acquaintances who would argue that the sexual behaviors I classify as harmful addictions are a wonderful part of life. I am not terribly close to any of these people, so I see no reason to remain their friend on social networking sites.

I’ve also set up structural rules to be more conscious of my internet habits. I’m going to try to log each time I get on my computer at home. I will write down my purpose for being on the computer and then report on how well I stuck to that purpose. It will be okay to have a purpose of browsing the internet as long as it is not at night and as long as there are other people around. Otherwise, browsing the internet will not be an acceptable reason to be on the computer.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned as I’ve worked to create my change plan.