Change is one of the biggest concepts facing today’s society. We are all confronted by how fast the world is changing and how we must change to keep up. We should view change as exciting!
What is the process we need to understand when seeking to change our behaviour? What are the prerequisites to lasting change? Most people don’t do what they want to do and do what they don’t want to do. Why is this? Why is change so hard for many?
1. We Are Not Clear On Where We Are Heading
A goal is imperative to where you want to go, but how many of us have a clearly defined statement for our life, know our values, or have any goals written down?
We can do this by writing a future letter, a personal mission statement, or merely by placing a list of goals in a visible place. This will help us decide where we want to end up. If we aim at nothing, we will more than likely achieve nothing!
It is also important to ensure each goal is chosen for the right reasons. Each reason must be a compelling reason for us. For example, if we do things to please others, or because we feel we should, we will often give up later on down the track, or not have the passion to complete the goal. Finding the right reasons will often require an understanding of our values and beliefs and priorities.
2. Our Attitude Is Wrong
The right attitude is crucial for change to be a positive experience. We must see change as something that we want, that is exciting and which will provide us with new possibilities. The power of positive thinking has been examined in great depth in many books. A list of good books to help you understand how to tap into this power of positive thinking for yourself can be found on the resources page of my website: http://www.aspectcoaching.com/Resources.html
3. We Don’t Know How To Renew The Mind
This means learning to look at things from a new perspective. Perspective is how we personally see things. With a new perspective change is easy. Achieving change with a non-empowering perspective is hard.
Some negative perspectives are doubt, fear, blame, criticism, low self-esteem and judgement.
Some empowering perspectives are trust, positive thinking, respect, commitment and responsibility.
Changing our perspective involves considering how we may look at things differently. It sometimes helps to consider how an outsider would view our circumstances.
Affirmations are one effective way to renew the mind. They can keep the mind focused on our goal if they are referred to regularly. Affirmations need to be written in the present tense, in the first person and with strong, positive language stating what you want to achieve, not what you don’t. For example, ‘I find it so easy to network with people. ’
4. We Don’t Form New Habits
Habits are one of the main factors that influence how we behave. To change a habit we must act on something at least seven times to reinforce the changed behaviour. Understanding the process of reinforcing habits can make a big difference. Some of these are:
- Getting a support system to put a new habit in place
- Getting a reminder system
- Making appointments with yourself
- Changing thinking patterns
5. We Don’t Understand Or Master The Areas Needed For Change
With all the desire in the world, we cannot change without the right tools. Tools provide us with the framework to make a difference. Some of the tools may be:
- Overcoming fear
- Overcoming obstacles
- Knowing where to change
- Having an empowering vision
- Keeping the momentum
- Drawing on the resources of others
- Recognizing our own limiting beliefs
- Aligning change to our values
- Designing a motivating environment
6. We Do Not Get Enough Support From Others
We are all designed to be in community. We are all imperfect, so we have to depend on the strengths of others to compliment our weaknesses. Getting support from people such as a coach, mentor or mastermind group is crucial to successful change. Coaching is a powerful process that enables a person to clarify what they want and the necessary steps to get there. Coaching allows for accountability, support, encouragement, feedback and challenge. These are all things we cannot get alone.
How many Olympic medallists would have won a medal without a coach?
7. We Stop Before The Change Has Happened
This is the biggest obstacle to change. Many people start off well but do not complete the race. Perseverance is the key. Keeping our eyes on the goal and not losing heart are crucial for success. Remembering what was driving us initially, and recapturing that vision can help keep us from giving up. Evaluation is important to recognize ways that have been successful and those that need changing.
A Model for Change
One of the most well respected models for change is the GROW principle. This is as follows:
- Goal Setting : Clarifying the goal, breaking it down into manageable steps.
- Reality : Considering where you are now, what is the gap to achieving the change, and what resources you can tap into.
- Options : Considering the different options to reach your goal.
- Way forward : Deciding on an action plan and sticking to it; celebrating success; and adjusting the plan as necessary.
A personal coach can take you through a model to facilitate change. The questions below may also help you move forward.
Personal Coaching Questions:
Name one area you would like to change.
Do you know where you are heading?
Is there any way your attitude needs changing?
Is there any way you need a new perspective, or way of thinking that is more constructive?
How may you sustain changes to your habits?
Where can you get support from others?
Have you given up too early?
This article may be reproduced if you include the following credit:
Jane Johnson is a Certified Coach and founder of Aspect Coaching. She offers personal and business coaching to professional women in their 30’s and 40’s who want to develop their professional skills so they can move forward to the next level in their career or business women who are unfulfilled and want to find a career that they feel is their true path in life.
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