The one thing you must understand in order to change

posted in: Change | 0

How often do you tell yourself change is hard? Do you pre-program your mind with this thought and then wonder why you can’t get the changes you want in your life to stick? If this sounds like you, I have great news; change can be easy when it’s driven by two simple statements that come courtesy of William J Rothwell and Roland L Sullivan from their book Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Consultants:

The incentive to change must be greater than the incentive to stay the same. Perceived incentives (positive or negative) must outweigh the reasons and excuses for not changing.

The bottom line being, if you don’t think the rewards for changing will be greater than the rewards you’re getting now, you’re not going to risk it; you’re not going to try something new. It’s simple, brilliant, and also the cause of so much of our collective suffering.

The reasons you resist doing something, when you know deep down you should take better care of yourself, ditch that nasty spending habit, exercise more, or start looking for a new job, are infinite. You can always come up with an excuse here or there, the justification that the time isn’t right, or that you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s all the same as saying the incentive just isn’t there. It’s also a way of saying:

My fear of change > My fear of staying the same

So for change to happen, you, in essence, need this:

Pain of staying the same + perceived new incentives from change > Fear of change

Often times the combination of some sort of pain, whether it be literal pain, frustration, stagnation, or just a sense that there’s something better out there, plus the promise of new rewards is the tipping point; you’ve reached a crossroads and to continue on the same road is simply no longer the right choice.

So if you’re at a crossroads, what’s it going to take to get you over the hump? What reward would be so great that it would overtake your fear or change? Here are five questions to help you get energized about change and moving toward new rewards.

1. What specific change do you want to make?
2. What is your #1 motivating factor for making this change? Make sure this is a super urgent, gotta do it motivator!
3. What rewards do you think this change will bring you that you’re not experiencing now (think of this from the standpoint of physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, and spiritual)
4. What one person can you ask to support you during your time of change? Think about someone who will not only be an ally but will also hold you accountable.
5. What first step can you take in the next 24 hours to start you on your way?