If awareness alone changed behavior, we would all be pretty brilliant, right? Most of us know what do to, so why don’t we do it? This is nothing new. Here is something from the Bible:
Romans 7:15 (New Living Version): I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
So what’s the big deal? Why can’t we create the change that we want? In short, we set ourselves up to fail. We leave out critical elements to actually create true and lasting change.
So what are the steps?
1. Have a WRITTEN plan. It can’t be in your head. Have outcomes that are measurable in some way.
2. Work your plan. No brainer. You actually have to do the things to create the change. More on how to stay on track in future steps.
3. Build in accountability and follow up. Tell everyone about your plan. Hire a coach. Check in periodically with your accountability folks. There is a social aspect to change that we often leave out. We think we can do it all ourselves, and when we fail, we beat ourselves up because we weren’t strong enough or we didn’t have enough discipline. Go to the places where you find encouragement and support. Create a network of folks to help you with your change journey.
4. Change the subconscious. The subconscious mind is 95% of our mind. Most of the things we do that we don’t want to do are decided in our subconscious. Think of an addict or alcoholic. Their conscious mind can think about all of the reasons why they shouldn’t drink or do drugs. But it is the unconscious desires that take over and make those decisions to drink or do drugs. So look into subliminal CDs or hypnosis to address these subconscious messages and desires. You must change those tapes in your head if you want to truly create the change that will last.
5. Build in daily application and reflection time. That is where the gradual change comes into fruition. You reflect on how you can do better and the next time you are in that same situation, you shift your behavior a little bit more toward where you want to be.
6. You must check in at least once per year on how you are doing with an assessment or self check in. Without this check in, you will have a tendency to slide back into old behaviors, especially under times of stress.
7. Address the underlying emotional competency that may be holding you back. Do you lack impulse control? You will not likely lose weight, quit spending, or quite gambling until you address the low impulse control. There are resources on my website to help you do that: A mini EI test, a workbook, and a resource book. Check them out.
There you have it. Simple, but certainly not easy. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Give yourself the best possible change of creating positive change in your life!