Some of us have tried and failed to make changes stick, while others seem more successful. What makes the difference?
We humans have far less personal control than we like to think we have. We largely go about our days operating out of automatic patterns and impulses. When we decide to change our routines, it seems some of us are more accomplished than others. Here is what successful change experts suggest we do.
First, identify a change you’d like to make. Identify one area you’d like to improve, such as health. Before you commit, ask yourself three questions.
- How ready to change are you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate your readiness to actually make this change? (A ranking of 1 would mean you’re not at all ready; a 10 means you’re extremely ready.) If you rate your readiness at a 6 or below, go to the second question to explore what truly motivates you. Many of us are ambivalent, even though we admit we “should change.” Pick a change for which you are truly ready to commit.
- What about this change is meaningful to you? Ask yourself what things are most important to you. Try to tie your goals with your values and deepest priorities in life. The more your goal is connected to your values and priorities, the more likely you are to stick with the change. Choosing goals related to relationships, enjoyment, and meaning in life are simply more important to people than wealth, fame, or how others perceive us.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you can make this change? If you aren’t sure you can attain your goal, make it smaller and easier to achieve. Anything you rate as a 6 or lower means you need to adjust your sights. You need goals that are challenging but realistically attainable based on previous results. Self-efficacy is one of the biggest predictors of future behavior. Break down goals into steps that will boost your confidence.