If you are a new years resolution kind of person, how are your goals going so far? How did you choose what goals you were going to set and how have you decided to go about changing yourself to achieve those goals? I don't know about you guys, but typically I create about 15 goals (5 for family, 5 for personal, and 5 for career) and I usually only achieve 2 or 3 of them. I often wonder to myself why I wasn't able to make them all successful. Choosing goals that work together and feed off of each other is usually what I do in hopes of optimizing on my desire to change. Unfortately, I have found that I am not typically ready to set out to change in certain areas, I fall into believing false beliefs about change, or my approach is not a long-term change approach. I am going to lay out some of this stuff for you and, in a few days, give you a simple way to help you figure out what stage of change you are in. I really hope this will help give you perspective on the changes you want to make so you will be more successful now and in the future.
False beliefs of change:
1. Change on your own is SIMPLE: Think again!! Typically this is very difficult because we constantly remind ourselves of our past failures and are tempted to believe we can't change and we don't have what it takes.
2. Willpower is ALL I need: If only! Willpower is only one piece of the puzzle of change as it only effects our ability to commit. So you start by committing to your goal, but don't have self-awareness of why you are doing it so you start failing and soon begin to believe that you have no willpower and give up.
3. Nothing works, I've tried it all before: (If I got a dollar for every time I heard that...) This is not typically true as we often don't use our change method frequently enough or at the right times. For example, if you think about how you look in a negative way 100 times a day but you only work on thinking positively about yourself 24 times a day, the change will never happen. You would have to think about yourself positively 100 times in order to make any change possible.
4. People don't change: Being pessimistic is one of the biggest obstacles of change. We often don't credit ourselves, or those around us, for their attempts to change and give them advice to try something different. This breaks down our confidence in ourselves. Not many people succeed at change their first time around because we learn new mistakes every time we set out to on our change method. It takes multiple attempts to get things right.
Change fails to be long term if you begin your change process by jumping right in because one does not typically attempt to figure out their awareness and readiness to change. Jumping right in to action will result in temporary change. Some examples of trying change in the action phase is by using rewards (ex: earn $1 every time you go to the gym) or trying to control your environment (ex: avoid going to fast food restaurants). A person needs to evaluate themselves and figure out what is keeping them in their undesirable behavior or state in order to make a substantial and lasting bridge into the action phase of change.
I hope this proves to be helpful to you and gives you more motivation to believe in the change process. I can't wait to explain the different stages more thoroughly in order to help you make some more long term changes on your own. In a few days, I will be posting four statements that the book, "Changing for Good," recommends for you to think through in order to help you better understand what stage you are currently in for the change you want to work through. I''d love to hear comments and feedback!
(As I said before, I am currently using the book "Changing for Good" by Prochaska, Norcross, and DiClemnte in order to help me articulate change correctly. I would HIGHLY recommend reading this book in its entirety in order to understand the process of change better, as I am only highlighting on portions that I, myself, found useful to my practice and personal change practice.)
Rachael Kool, professional counselor and normal, everyday adult screw up