Baby Steps

by Sep 13, 20180 comments

My grandbabies are taking their first steps now–and in a few months from now they will be RUNNING… in a couple of years, skipping.

They don’t know it now, but these baby steps are opening up a whole new world for them. Today, they cannot imagine playing varsity basketball or hiking Mt. Lassen, but any of that is possible.

What does this have to do with reversing global warming?

Drawdown shows us that reversing global warming is possible, yet the required change to human behavior and systems seems massive from our vantage point today.

This presents us with a crisis of imagination. A spiritual crisis… one that can be solved with baby steps.

What do I mean?

Today, most people are sitting on the sidelines out of overwhelm, apathy, despair, cynicism or worse. We need to get connected and take action together. Yet, many cannot imagine how to do this.

Behavioral change expert and Stanford University Professor B.J. Fogg ( says that there are three things that need to be in place to change behavior in any given moment.

1. A Trigger
2. Ability
3. Motivation

If you don’t take action, chances are one or more of the above was missing.

Professor Fogg’s studies also demonstrate that there are only three ways to actually change behavior:

Option A. Have an epiphany
Option B. Change your environment (what surrounds you)
Option C. Take baby steps

Option A is possible, but rare, so let’s set that aside for a moment.
Option B is possible, but can be a bigger challenge and takes much more work.

That leaves Option C – Baby steps.

Why do “baby steps” work so well in changing personal behavior? Consistent long term change can happen best if we become the “type of person who does____”

New habits start small. Meditate for three minutes today. Floss one tooth a day. Do one push-up a day. Connect with nature for two minutes a day.

Consistency is key. Want to begin an exercise program? Start with a ridiculously easy baby step. Walk for two minutes a day. right after breakfast. Do it every day. Of course, by day three, if you are like most people, you’ll be walking for more than two minutes.

The “tiny habits” method demonstrates the real problem to change is inertia… If we can overcome initial inertia with what Fogg calls “a trigger” after sixty-five days, we’ll have a new habit.

Experts recommend introducing a new tiny habit every thirty days.

A “trigger” is something you already do or something that happens regularly. Examples:

– the morning alarm goes off
– You pee
– You brush your teeth
– Your mobile phone rings
– You see a negative political post on social media

Doing this also demonstrates the power of changing the story, even in small ways. If I walk for two minutes a day, I am now “the kind of person who exercises daily.” Voila!

P.S. Take Baby Steps to reverse global warming…

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