I’m about halfway through Nick Cooney’s excellent new book, Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, which I intend to review here when I finish. The book basically involves looking at research on advocacy and behavior change to figure out the most effective approaches to activism. It seems eminently sensible to base your activism upon what’s proven to work, instead of just winging it based on your intuition.
One important point Cooney makes, which has a lot of evidence backing it up, is the value of giving people only one or two choices rather than many. It turns out that for each new choice you add, the listener becomes less likely to take any action at all.
For the past several months, I’ve been doing Commitment Tuesdays, where I’d typically offer nearly a dozen suggestions for activism, and ask my readers to pick one. Based on Change of Heart, I’ve decided to skip Commitment Tuesday this month and instead ask everyone to take the following action. Since 2011 is just a couple days away, let’s use Facebook, Twitter, and email to tap into the once-a-year opportunity to influence our friends’ New Year’s resolutions.
Specifically, since most people who go vegan for a month end up making permanent dietary changes (just ask Grant Butler), let’s post a request to Facebook and Twitter for our friends to try out being vegan for the month of January. That’s a far less intimidating request than asking someone to do it for life, and it will therefore be much more likely to be followed.
Since most of your friends will likely feel unprepared to give this diet a try, you can link to the free online version of my Ultimate Vegan Guide.
Here’s the request I just posted to my Facebook wall, along with the link to my Ultimate Vegan Guide:
The best New Year’s resolution you could possibly make: give vegan living a test drive for the month of January. Here’s a free guide on how to do it. Please comment below if you’re willing to give this a shot, or if you’ve got any questions.
You’re welcome to simply copy and paste the above text to your Facebook wall.
In addition to a general request through Facebook and Twitter, please also give some thought to the people closest to you. Do you know anyone on the fence—a person who has learned a lot about vegan living over the past few years and has made a few steps in that direction? Why not send someone like this a personal email, and make the suggestion that they give vegan living a test drive during the month of January?
I think you’ll be surprised how often people come through and give you what you ask for. Doing this takes just a couple of minutes, and what have you got to lose?