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Home » The Battle of Changing Your Behavior: Eric Zimmer (Transcript)

The Battle of Changing Your Behavior: Eric Zimmer (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Eric Zimmer’s talk titled “The Battle of Changing Your Behavior” at TEDxColumbus conference.

In this TEDx talk, Eric Zimmer insightfully addresses the profound challenge of altering personal habits and behaviors, a task that statistics suggest is daunting, with a high failure rate in diets and New Year’s resolutions. Drawing on over two decades of experience in behavior change and insights from his podcast featuring thought leaders, Zimmer dismantles the common belief that willpower and discipline are the sole keys to change.

He proposes that changing behavior is a learnable skill, emphasizing the importance of starting with small, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. By using analogies from the board game Risk, Zimmer outlines strategies such as “taking small continents first,” focusing efforts (“concentrating your armies”), and the significance of support networks (“making treaties and alliances”).

His personal journey from a homeless heroin addict to transforming his life underscores the talk’s message about the power of focused effort and the importance of support. Zimmer’s strategies are not just theoretical but are grounded in real-life applications, demonstrated through both personal anecdotes and those of the people he’s worked with. The talk concludes on an empowering note, suggesting that anyone can change their behavior by applying these strategic principles, thereby fundamentally changing their life.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Challenge of Making Lasting Changes

So, making lasting changes in our behavior is hard. The statistics are depressing. Some studies show that 95% of all diets fail and only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolution. Making lasting changes in our behavior is a battle. It’s difficult and most of us don’t succeed at it for very long.

I’ve been helping people to change their behavior for over 20 years and I host a podcast where I’ve talked to over 150 thought leaders, authors, psychologists, and spiritual teachers. People like Andrew Solomon, Carol Dweck, Simon Sinek, and Don Miguel Ruiz. We talk about what it means to live a good life and right at the heart of living a good life is being able to choose how we want to behave and actually follow through on that.

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