Change, creating new habits and staying on track, doesn’t always come easy to us. However, there are methods that can substantially increase the odds of reaching our goals. The following five steps can be used both in a corporate setting and for activating a personal change.
1. Identify what you REALLY want
It may appear a simple task, but it’s really not. We often know what we don’t want, but we seldom have a clear picture of what we do want – or why.
It’s important that you understand the reason why you want to start on your change journey. Also, look at your current situation and identify what you might want to take on the journey with you. Then be clear on what you hope to find at your destination.
The number one reason why change projects fail is bad communication. Even if your project involves only you, clearly communicate your goals to yourself – write them down and revisit them often.
2. Define an attractive goal
Define a goal that is “authentically you”, i.e. uniquely relevant to you and not something that you feel you “should” do. Make it a goal that you are excited and passionate about, then phrase it in a way that is enticing to you.
In many cases only a highly attractive goal will generate the momentum needed for your change journey to get started.
3. Overcome resistance
Corporate change projects often encounter resistance and can fail when that is not properly addressed. Resistance comes from different issues such as a lack of understanding, a lack of trust in capability and potential, a lack of motivation, or simply too much activity. Therefore, different challenges require different communication.
The same is true for personal change. How do you talk to yourself when there is an inner “yes, but…”? What exactly is holding you back? Is it that you don’t know what the next step should be? Or is it that you don’t trust yourself to take it? Or are you simply so active that you can’t focus on what’s really important at this time?
Find out where your inner resistance comes from and address it accordingly. If needed, get support. Talking to someone you trust. It will give you a different and valuable perspective.
4. Create new habits
Habits enable us to take actions without consciously thinking about them, removing the need for constant decision making. As some habits are not beneficial to us this can be a mixed blessing. On the other hand, by understanding how habits work, you can consciously automate new behaviours that are good for you.
- how to set triggers to get your new habit going
- how short or simple a routine can be to still be effective
- how you can reward yourself to make the new habit stick
5. Celebrate your wins
It’s important to track your progress, and celebrating milestones or wins is the best way to do this. If the milestones are too far apart, it can be hard to reaffirm a positive development. It’s essential to feel a project is going in the right direction and accomplishments are recognised. If wins are not celebrated, it can lead to a sense of frustration and cause a lack of motivation for future projects.
In personal projects keep yourself motivated by acknowledging and celebrating even the smallest steps. Our brains crave positive emotions, so creating even a small win will make building new habits easier. As an added bonus, it may also make you more perceptive to celebrating the wins of others.
No matter what you choose as your next change project or journey, make it attractive, set sail as soon as possible and have fun along the way.
Clarity and passion expert Elisabeth Pine works as a coach, trainer and speaker. During the course of her career she has used her skills as a consultant and communicator to help thousands of people gain more clarity on what they want to do, say and be.
Elisabeth is delivering several education sessions at IMEX in Frankfurt 2017: