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“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened.” – French philosopher Michel de Montaigne
You have tried so hard to change. Eventually your new year resolutions go to hell in a hand basket. These may include losing weight, developing a leadership skill, improving your physical and mental health, and having healthier friends. The effort at change faded fast for two basic reasons. You did not have,
- A Big enough WHY (motivation)
- Evidence based behavior change strategies
A Big Enough Why
Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” We need leverage with others and ourselves in order to make significant changes. Examples of leverage are,
- Your doctor tells you to better manage your stress and diet or you will not lose weight
- Your boss tells you that you need better delegation skills or you will not be promoted
- Your spouse tells you that you need to devote more time to the family because your child will continue to act out
- A community is informed that it needs to deal with its racial bias or else the riots will reoccur
A Strategy That Works
There is so much advice that “experts” give us on changing our lives. Some methods work and some don’t. Some are based on solid scientific evidence and others on anecdotes alone. But it is the strategies that work that actually count. Here are four ways successful change occurs based on evidence-based practice.
- Write down your goals in measurable behavioral terms.
For example, “I will improve my listening skills by talking 40% less and use techniques like paraphrasing what the person told me”
- Make yourself accountable to someone invested in your progress.
For example, you shared the goals with your boss who already gave you feedback that you need to improve your listening skills.
- Give a regular progress report.
Knowing that there is ongoing accountability keeps you from backsliding on your goals.
- Practice proven strategies.
Practice does not make perfect. It only makes permanent. We need to practice what works. Please read my blog on Practice at https://cedricj.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/practice-makes-perfect/
I have found in my coaching practice with executives over many years that these evidence-based strategies lead to successful change.