Scripting Change: How to Create Meaningful Life-Change - Spirit Farm

“Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has its enemies.” —Robert Kennedy

Did you know that the offensive coach almost always scripts the first 10 to 15 plays of any professional football game? Before the offense ever sets foot on the field, before they look across at the defense, and before they even determine where their starting position will be, they have scripted their first moves.

The scripted plays are based on what the teams know about their opponent and what they know about themselves. If a team has a young quarterback and wants to ease him into the game to let him get comfortable before having to make a big play, the offensive coach will script run plays to start the game. If the coach has great confidence in the quarterback and wants to shock the defense and jump out to a fast lead, he’ll likely script them to start throwing the ball aggressively. Either way, these kinds of decisions are made in practice well before the game starts.

In their book Switch, Dan and Chip Heath talk about learning to “script” specific changes you want to see in your life, organization, or community. They argue that it’s not enough to make vague, blanket statements about changes you hope to see. “I want to eat healthier,” is not clear enough. There’s wiggle room, space for the rationalizer in all of us. Instead, more appropriate scripting would be “No more white flour, no more whole milk, and no eating past 9:00 p.m.”

My brother Josh went to several doctors about some digestive trouble he was having. One doctor just gave him a pill and said he’d likely deal with this issue the rest of his life—basically, “good luck.” Josh wasn’t satisfied, so he got another opinion. The new doctor did some preliminary examinations and then gave Josh a major challenge. “I think you’re allergic to gluten. If you want to be sure, and if you want your stomach to heal, you need to completely cut the following out of your diet: grains, flour, breads, pastas…anything with gluten.”

Tough decision. Limit your diet to 30% of the grocery store, or continue with a lifestyle of digestive pain. But the decision was clear. It was black and white. There was no guesswork. Josh took the challenge, and he’s a more fit, healthy, and happy man for it.

Think about the opening quote at the top: “Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has its enemies.”


Is there an area in your life where you would like to see progress, but you’ve been afraid of change? Perhaps you haven’t yet been clear about what “success” would look like.

Note: Make sure you sign up for the Start Strong Summit. A FREE virtual summit from Spirit Farm that will give you all the inspiration and ideas you need to “script” whatever change you’d like to see. SIGN UP HERE