The Easiest Way to Change Your Behavior

Change-Ology: The Science of Change

In the big scary world of behavioural psychology, there are numerous models of change. Today, I thought I’d share mine. The various stages don’t always happen in the order you see them outlined here but nonetheless, they all seem to happen eventually.

1. Procrastination. We all visit this place from time to time. Some of us are there right now. Some of us live there. Procrastination is not a sign of weakness (rather, humanity) but at the same time, we don’t want to spend our lives in a holding pattern. Almost doing isn’t doing at all. Sometimes, the first step is both the most terrifying and the most liberating.

2. Consideration. Consideration is the stage where we begin to think practically and strategically about the things we need to address in our world. It’s where we start to conceptualise and breathe life into our preferred future. It’s the theory that precedes the reality.

3. Conversation. In most situations, conversation is a healthy part of the change process. Having people to bounce our thoughts and ideas off provides us with a level of clarity and perspective that’s hard to find flying solo. It also gives us the benefit of tapping into the insight, understanding and experience of others. After all, it’s impossible for you to be objective about you because you are you. If you need to converse with a professional you can visit their homepage here.

4. Evaluation. Everything comes at a price and the evaluation stage of the change process is where we (1) weigh up the cost (mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, socially) of what we want to achieve and (2) decide whether or not we’re prepared to pay the price.

5. Motivation. We’re all motivated at some stage but in many instances, not for long. For most of us, life is a never-ending series of motivational peaks and troughs. Like flatulence, it comes and goes. We start things. And then we stop. And while we should capitalise on motivation when it’s there, we shouldn’t rely on it to get us where we want to go over the long term. Successful people find a way to keep doing what’s required even in the absence of (the emotional state of) motivation. *We call this ‘non-negotiable commitment’.

6. Education. We live in the information age so it’s relatively easy to educate ourselves about almost anything if we’re committed to learning. Interestingly, many people are very educated but also very stagnant. And lazy. And fearful. And, let’s be honest, full of crap. That is, they know what to do but fail to (consistently) do what they know. Which leads us to point number seven…

7. Application. This is possibly the most important stage. The application of the information is the most transformative ingredient in the change recipe. Doing is growing. Doing is learning. Doing is changing. Some people are simply better at applying what they know. Knowledge only becomes a valuable resource when we do something intelligent with it. Some people talk. Some people do.

8. Adaptation. This is the stage where we start to experience a shift in our reality. And our results. We become more resilient. More productive. More empowered. More aware. More content.

9. Transformation. The goal. Just like the old you but better. Exactly the same but totally different.