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Snoopy to Venice: How to Manage Change Effectively

Snoopy to Venice: How to Manage Change Effectively

“I want to be more creative,” I thought to myself last fall. “It’s time I develop my right brain a little more.”

Our health promotion strategies should be easy as painting Snoopy

My Rendition of Snoopy – not bad, hun?

Since quite a few of my family members are decent painters, I thought painting was a great place for me to start. But because I know nothing about the topic, I decided to start with something easy: Snoopy, using paint-by-number.

This initial project fulfilled its goal perfectly. It allowed me to be creative, mix some colors together to create new ones, add some texture and really see Snoopy come alive with each brush stroke. In about 4 hours, I had created my little masterpiece and really enjoyed the process.

My husband also loved the painting. In his usual supportive tone, he said that he enjoyed it so much that he wanted to bring it to his office. To which I replied, “No, no. If you want to bring one of my paintings to your office, I’ll make something worthy of your office!”  There and then, I decided to paint Venice (also using paint by number).

Health promotion strategies shouldn't be as complex as painting Venice

My rendition of Venice – not quite as exciting as Snoopy…

The equipment required for this second project increased considerably. I went from 2 to 4 paint brushes, from 8 to 32 colors on my palette and from a 6X8 to a 16X20 canvas. The level of detail was also much elevated. And the progress, much slower. I couldn’t envision how all the colorful blots I was working on would add up.

Some 30 hours later, I started to lose interest in the project. I still pick up my brushes on occasion, but close to a year since I started Venice, it still doesn’t look like much. In fact, if I didn’t tell you that this photo to the left was Venice, you probably wouldn’t guess it!

When it comes to changing our health habits, a lot of us go about it the same way. We try to take on too much, too soon. We think we can go from couch potato and burger junkie to super athlete and herbivore in a week. And what happens after the initial motivation wears off? We return to our old habits. Only this time, we have reinforced the feeling that we can’t change.

Our health promotion model

The SaS Compass really works!

Our Health Promotion Model Facilitates Behavioral Change

If how you feel towards your health habits is similar to my relationship with my Venice canvas, you could use a little help from our health promotion model. Here’s the gist of it:

  • Through the biochemical activity they produce, our sleep, food, mood and exercise habits are mutually reinforcing. In other words, if you start doing a little more of one, the others will naturally become a little easier as well.
  • This means that rather than work on an area of weakness, you can start by working with a strength, something you are interested in and that will feel easier for you. For example, if your biggest challenge is your food habits, then start by working on your sleep and see if it makes better food choices a little easier to make. If sleep is what’s most difficult for you, try picking up the pace on exercise and see if it helps you fight insomnia.
  • As we build new habits, further change becomes easier. This process will help you progress from baby steps to bigger challenges without too much strain.

If you’d like more information on how to use the SaS Compass, the introduction of Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person’s Guide to Optimal Health and Performance will help you. Or contact us, and let’s discuss how our health promotion services can help.

MJ Shaar – in 20 seconds


MJ is one of the most sought-after experts blending positive psychology and health promotion. She spent over 15 years coaching, teaching, speaking, researching and testing smart health habits. Marie-Josée Shaar received her undergrad at McGill University in Organizational Behavior, followed by a Master of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania. She's certified as a Wellness Culture Coach, a Personal Trainer, and a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.

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