The question is: “When are you going to change (insert behavior)?”
And sometimes the answer is: “When pigs fly.”
Pigs can’t fly! It’s impossible. That is the point.
Lesson 1: You have to believe it is possible.
If you say you cannot change, it is true. If you say you can, it is true. What if your attempts to change have failed? You want to stop smoking, eating too much, blurting out statements that hurt people, or improve a skill? What if you say you want to change, and despite your efforts it still feels impossible? First think about your commitment to the change, are you really ready?
Lesson 2: You have to be change ready.
You already know that if you try to “fly” to change before you are ready, nothing happens. What you might not know is that you need to move through three stages before you take action. Let’s look at them:
- Precomtemplation Stage (Not Ready). You have NOT decided that you need to change. You see the numbers on the scale, your boss tells you that some improvement is needed, you are short of breath going up stairs, or someone you love asks you to change.
In one study, 200 smokers stayed in this stage for two years (Prochaska, 2006).
- Contemplation Stage (Getting Ready). You look at Pros and Cons. You are aware that a change is needed but have not yet made a commitment. You are starting to see the benefits to making the change.
- Preparation Stage (Ready). You will start taking small steps. You are starting to prepare. You can plan the how, the when, and the reward points.
If you can recognize these stages, you can see that you have not been a failure at change. You just forgot to move through the stages. Once you move through the above stages, you are ready to take action steps to make change happen.
Lesson 3: Know when it is time to take action.
When you are in action stage you are in the process of change. Then you hit the maintenance stage and you deal with the obstacles that get in the way. Some people will relapse and need to start back at stage one. That is OK because you will get back to the action stage again.
Yes, it feels good to go from your before picture to your after picture. If you are not at the goal yet, it does not mean you are failing. Sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward. Remember there are several stages in-between. You are moving forward. Remember to celebrate each success along the way. As long as you are taking those action steps, you are changing!
Flying is not a requirement, moving forward is the point.
© 2015, Carol-Anne Minski, PhD
For more on taking action to achieve your goals check out my new book: FOCUS! Get What you Want Out of Life, now on Amazon. Carol-Anne, known as Doctor C, is a leadership coach, consultant, and author. Her company, CMA Leadership Consultants is located Northeast Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit www.cmaleadershipconsultants.com.