Friday, December 17, 2010

When Small Isn't Good Enough

Here at Cybercise, we stand on the idea that making small, positive changes is a great way to improve your health for the long-term. Odds, statistics and experience show too drastic a change and attempting too much, too soon most often results in failure. Start small, stick with it and over time you'll see improvement.

And, what about those times when small isn't good enough? They happen...

Example #1: Blockbuster. The fine people who created Blockbuster had a really terrific idea that revolutionized the way we watch movies. The model was perfect and Blockbuster was very successful. And then, along comes Netflix. Sure, Blockbuster started making small changes. They tweaked their model. And they sat in corporate conference rooms too afraid to make the big change and do something dramatic. Why? Big change is uncomfortable and scary. I get it; I understand. And as time went on, those people in corporate conference rooms sat around  only making small changes just long enough while their idea died and the company went bankrupt.

Example #2: Company X. The very safe, stable and predictable Medicare market Company X has operated in for the last 40 years is about to drastically change. The market changed a little about 5 years ago and Company X made a few small changes and survived the little shake. Since that time, they've continued to make a few small changes even though they know, without a shadow of a doubt, the big shake is coming. The market is about to change dramatically and where there were 20+ Company X's there will now only be 5 or 6. What is Company X doing? They are sitting in corporate conference rooms making small changes, doing little things piecemeal at a time. Why? Sticking your neck out there and being a leader is scary. Change is uncomfortable. My prediction? They'll be gone. They might as well turn the lights off now and go home.

Example #3: My father was a smoker. He knew he should quit (just as all smokers know they should quit). Sure he'd cut down now and again, he moved to the light version,  but he didn't quit (granted this was 20+ years ago so the evidence was a bit less clear then). He had his first heart attack at 39. We nearly lost him. Guess what? He quit smoking. Never had another. He was lucky to be alive. He made the big change and is still alive today.

The point? Small changes are good and small changes do make all of the difference. And, if you are overweight, or diabetic, or a smoker, or have pre-hypertension, or you don't exercise, maybe now is the time for the big change. The only big change you really need to make is to finally and resolutely decide to do something different.

Don't sit in your living room and be afraid. Yes, it will be uncomfortable and it is scary. You can start the big change with small changes but be really clear with yourself that you're going to do something really different. Why? Because the only thing you really have to fear is waiting too long and not having a chance.

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