This page describes how to make lasting improvements in
your lifestyle. For example, it can help you exercise more, lose weight, or
make numerous other personal improvements. You make the resolution and we help
you get there in the short run and stay there for the long run. Interested?
The techniques we use is based on continuous quality improvement, a well
know method of improving organizations. We apply the concepts of continuous
quality improvement to personal improvement and lifestyle change. In the end,
you not only get to make important improvements in your lifestyle, you also get
to learn more about
Read chapter 1 "Keeping up with diet and exercise: a workbook"
in Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise Programbook Pages 7 through 30.
Read about experience of others. Read "Does process improvement
work?" in Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise Programbook pages 31 through 38. There are no guarantees.
Your success will depend on how willing you are to modify your
environment. It will take several weeks and you would need to keep at
it for a while. But it is important to ask what has been the experience of
others with this approach. You can see a summary of their experiences to
To make lasting changes in your life, follow the steps provided below.
Read and review the entire list but start with steps 1 and 2.
. Before you proceed, you need to be aware of theinformation
we collect about you (e.g. did you succeed in getting to your
resolution) and the risks and benefits you face by participating in this
activity. Please print the form and physically sign and send it by
facsimile to 703 993 1953.
Make a resolution. Decide
what is it that you want to accomplish and why. Some examples include
improving diet, weight loss, increasing exercise, improved fitness, more
leisure time, and so on. If you are thinking of a diet change, please
consult a clinician. When you are ready, let us help you start
You can also think through your resolution, use Figure 1 in Chapter 1 in
the book: Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise Program.
Put together a team. Even though the goal of lifestyle management focuses on you and how you can make personal
improvements, the solution is likely to involve "process owners,"
people who live with you and who help you carry out daily living
activities. You can start by reading about how to organize and maintain
an improvement team in Chapter 4 of the book Thinking Person Weight Loss &
Exercise Program. When you are ready, test if the person you have in
mind is a process owner by completing Table 1 in Chapter 1 of the book
Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise Program.
Describe life processes.
Take a scientific approach to accomplishing your resolution. Start by
understanding your habits and events that trigger them. Make sure you are
aware of how you live and how various parts of your life are
interconnected. You can learn how to use lists and flow charts to
describe your life style by reading Chapter 5, and completing Table 3 and
Figure 2 in Chapter 1 of the book Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise
Program. Seeexamples of system changes introduced by others.
List possible changes & change your
environment. Make sure that
you come up with more than one solution. Wait and do not rush into
a decision. Select several solutions at once and bring about multiple
changes in your environment. Keep in mind that we are looking for
system solutions and not a renewed or increased effort. We want you to
succeed by changing your environment and not your motivation. Read about
system change in chapter 3 and check if your solutions are system changes
by completing Table 4 in the book Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise
Program. Make sure that you include
the scores for system change in your personal improvement storyboard.
You need data to see if changes you have introduced have led to
improvement. Learn about data collection and analysis in Chapters 6 of
the book Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise Program. If you relapse
to old habits, keep asking yourself what led to it and what needs to
change to reduce future relapses.
Make sure you include your control chart in the personal improvement
Engage in cycles of improvement. Plan for, do, check and act
again. Go through cycles of changing your environment and checking to see
if it has led to better lifestyle. For more details see
workbook in Chapter 1 of
the book Thinking Person Weight Loss & Exercise Program.
Tell your story. As you go on, publicly report your progress to
your improvement team. Make storyboard about your progress. At the end
of the semester, hand in your narrated personal improvement storyboard to
Advanced learners like you, often need different ways of understanding a topic. Reading is just one way of understanding. Another way is through writing about what you have
read. The enclosed assessment is designed to get you to think more about the concepts taught in this session.
What is system change and how is it different from putting more
effort into accomplishing your resolution?
What is the difference between a buddy and a process owner?
How would you know if the change you are making in your lifestyle
has led to improvement?
Who is responsible for your failure to accomplish your resolution?
Why should you make a storyboard if you are the only person who
looks at it; wouldn't you know your own story?
Why should you try again if you are succeeding?
How does one link life processes to the habit you would like to
You do not need to send your
responses to the instructor. If you feel you do not know the answer to
these questions review chapter one or ask a question on the web from the
See an example of how to improve use of treadmill through various cycles
of interventions including moving of television, moving of exercise equipment,
change in eating out habits, and change in cooking patterns.
See a narrated example that includes making several systemic changes and
using a control chart to track the impact on weight loss and exercise:
Reducing junk food Includes time-in-between chart, process chart of the
problem, and changes in personal systems. See also
diet modification . Includes flow chart, ecological approach to
diet and time-in-between chart. Led to 10 pound weight loss.
See an example in reducing junk food (includes
list of routines, list of possible solutions, rating of extent of system
change, data collection, control chart analysis of the data):
For another example see how moving a treadmill
affected exercise pattern (includes data on an unsuccessful attempt):
For another example see how changing sleep
patterns helped one person gain weight:
See an excellent example that includes all the
elements of personal improvement. In this example process owner is engaged, a
list of routines is prepared, several options for change are proposed and
scored in terms of how much of a systemic change they are, one is implemented
and data are collected to see if the change has led to improvement. The
example solves late night binge eating by changing the timing of various daily
See examples in other life style changes
Clean house faster The frequency of accumulation of clutter was
reduced. Includes analysis of routines, purchase of new equipment,
re-arrangement of shredder, changes in schedule and more.
Save money and reduce ATM use The frequency of ATM use was reduced.
Includes organization of improvement team, list of possible solutions, scoring
of options (systemic change or personal effort), and a control chart.
Get to work on time. Number of occasions of delay in arriving to work was
reduced. The personal improvement includes a flow chart of current events
that cause the delay, a list of motivation based options and environment
change options, scoring of extent of systemic change, data collected over the
course of the semester, and a control chart analysis of the data.
Stress reductionThe workbook was used to develop a model of how
stress occurs. Regression analysis was used to link various factors leading