State Your Specific Areas of Change

Blanket statements forecasting change are very common. People speak about changes they intend to make and have every intention of doing so.  Here a few things we’ve probably all heard:

The New Year’s Resolution pledge; ‘As soon as the New Year rolls in I’m going to get in shape and start eating healthy’.

The smoker’s promise; ‘I’m quitting smoking! This is going to be my last pack of cigarettes that I ever buy!’

‘I swear! On my next test I’m going to study and pass. I’m not failing another exam again!’

The term ‘easier said than done’, rings a loud bell when people declare changes they intend to make without stating what specific areas of their lives they plan to change.  Old habits die hard, especially when they’ve become normalized and over time apart of our day to day behaviour. I believe that the main reason that people are not successful in their attempts to change is because they do not have a detailed plan to foster change or their plan to change is too grandiose.

What will we replace the behaviours we want to change with?

For example, the individual who’s made the New Year’s resolution about getting in shape and eating well; how are you going to go about getting to the gym or incorporating a walk into your schedule without a plan?

What’s going to replace that bag of Cheezees or that chocolate bar you find comforting when life gets tough?  Highlighting specific areas of your life you will address prior to attempting to make sweeping change is highly recommended.  Remember you plan to fail if you fail to plan.  Knowing where your strengths and deficits lie to set yourself up for success is imperative. The areas in our lives that we set out to change should be challenging yet doable and within reach. We need to be honest and self-aware when pinpointing the area of life we will undertake to prompt change.

Our friend who’s made the resolution to get into shape has a better likelihood of achieving their goals if they candidly state them and have a road map on how to make their change come to fruition. Stating days and times are a good place to start when disrupting old routines and incorporating new ways. Having a contingency plan/Plan B in the event the initial plan doesn’t pan out is also helpful.  We want to position ourselves with supports and increase our chances to succeed. The more habitual our stated changes become, the faster they become behaviour.

Take small steps to make big moves.  I encourage change to be steady however taking on too much at once can be cumbersome and confusing.  In the early stages we want to build confidence and momentum for future change.

Hence our stated change should be reasonable. Wanting to change behaviour we’ve identified as problematic quickly/overnight is ideal however often not feasible. When stating our areas of change it is good practice to include a rational timeline and benchmarks. Monitoring and documenting our journey towards change is self- empowering.

Write it down! Seeing is believing! Saturate yourself with the change you want to become.  Be relentless on achieving your change yet flexible.