A recent Inc. article featured 10 things leaders need to learn how to do in their quest to be successful, and most have one thing in common: they require some sort of behavior change. While change can be difficult due to inertia, there are strategies that can help people make the process of making mid-year changes more palatable.
The one time during an entire year when change seems to be the most palatable is the beginning of a new year, which signals a fresh start. However, there is no reason why people should not engage in change all the time, especially as we pass the midpoint of the year.
There are 3 main reasons people are resistant to change, the “three Ds”:
- Lack of desire. They don’t see the need for it. They have to really care about the outcome; it has to be worth it for them.
- Lack of determination. They don’t believe they can make the necessary changes; it’s just too hard.
- Lack of dedication. They aren’t committed to making consistent changes that will stick long term.
Change is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition, so it is perfectly appropriate—and maybe even preferable—to start slowly and focus on the process rather than the outcome. When people concentrate on the steps and activities that go into achieving a goal such as changing a behavior, they can celebrate incremental victories to reward themselves and keep things moving forward. It is important to realize that the insistence on perfection can be detrimental and and we should not keep putting a hammer on our heads each time when mistake crop up. We have to also learn how to make appropriate comparisons, i.e., consider it a “win” to go from not exercising to walking 30 minutes three times a week, understanding it’s irrelevant if others are working out more frequently.
In addition to pain tolerance, there are three other critical obstacles that may interfere with the process of change:
- Inertia. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Even successful people eventually plateau, and the common response to that is to work harder or faster doing things the same way—which rarely achieves the desired breakthrough.
- Lifecycle stage. Where people are in their professional or personal lives will have a significant effect on how stuck or inspired they are to leave their comfort zones and make changes.
- Emotions. It’s well documented that negative thinking can powerfully affect the way people feel and behave. The good news is that behavior is easier to change than feelings—and there are ways to combat negative thinking.
We can all learn from the experiences of elite athletes, who understand that to be at the top of their game, they need to create challenges for themselves and move beyond their comfort zones to achieve the next level of success. They also realize that change is measured by frequency, intensity and duration, with the latter being the key.
From: FPMG Management Co.
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