Why You Can’t Kill a Bad Habit with a Magic Bullet

PROVO, UT – Jan 22, 2008 – A study by the authors of a new bestseller on influencing change found that 98 percent of Americans fail when making resolutions to change their bad behaviors. Most importantly, the study reveals why the other two percent succeed.

According to the study from the authors of the New York Times bestseller, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything (McGraw-Hill, 2007), those who use four or more influence strategies to change bad habits are four times more likely to succeed.

The survey of more than 1000 Americans also revealed that the reason most people give up on changing their bad behaviors is because their approach usually consists of only one, “magic bullet” solution—a trend proven by the $23 billion Americans spend annually on diet pills (The Diet Drug Report, 2007).

Joseph Grenny, co-author of Influencer, says despite decades of failure, the good news is that most people are just an idea or two away from overcoming their most resistant habits.

“Forget diet pills and quick-fix solutions,” says Grenny. “The key to real change is to guarantee success by leveraging as many strategies of influence as you can.”

Grenny’s new book Influencer teaches that there are six possible influence strategies or sources that determine how we behave. And if people learn to leverage these sources, change becomes inevitable.

The Six Sources of Influence:

  1. Personal Motivation – overcome your own reluctance and resistance
  2. Personal Ability – learn how to master the necessary skills for success
  3. Social Motivation – enlist help from leaders or other opinion-leaders
  4. Social Ability – leverage teamwork
  5. Structural Motivation – reward your early successes
  6. Structural Ability – surround yourself with a supportive physical environment

For example, one respondent demonstrated how after decades of struggling to lose weight she increased her physical activity and changed her life when she marshaled multiple sources of influence: “I was inactive for many years. After a serious health condition almost took my life, I knew I had to change my ways. I changed everything about my life to make exercise a very high priority. I started working part time instead of full time. I made time to exercise before work. I changed my diet by bringing my lunch to work. I put my house on a diet and made an agreement with my family to keep bad food out. I engaged my husband in the effort by having him agree to watch the kids while I worked out. Since I changed the influences in my life, I have not only lost the weight but also kept it off.”

Influencer draws on the skills of hundreds of successful individuals who have solved seemingly insurmountable challenges using multiple sources of influence.


About VitalSmarts

An innovator in corporate training and organizational performance, VitalSmarts is home to award- winning training products that deliver powerful tools that enrich relationships and improve end results. The company also has three New York Times bestselling books, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations, and Influencer. VitalSmarts has been listed twice on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies and has taught more than 2 million people worldwide.

Note to editor: Joseph Grenny, coauthor of Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, can give your readers/viewers tips on how to create a simple, yet effective influence strategy to change bad behaviors. Tips available upon request.

About the research: The study collected responses via online survey tool from more than 1000 individuals. Margin of error is approximately 3%. Full survey results are available upon request.

New study shows using 4 influence strategies to change bad habits is 4 times more successful

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