Are you contemplating change?

December 4, 2011 - 21:26 -- Dr. Ada

Many times we talk about our desire to change. As the last month of the year progresses, we start taking inventory and thinking about what we need to change in the new year. That is why I'm doing this month a series of posts on change. Last week we addressed the problem of giving up on change. Today we answer the question, how can I get ready to change?

Unless your mind is ready to make a focused, no barred holds, commitment to change, you are not ready. Do you know where you are in your readiness for change? December is a good month to contemplate the need for change.

How to start getting ready for change:

1. Ask the right questions

Albert Einstein said that the key to solving problems is asking the right questions. Develop questions specific to your situation. For example, if you decide you are too heavy and want to loose weight, some sample questions could be:

  • How many calories does an average 40 yrs. old male need to consume in an average day?
  • How long must you jog to lose one pound?
  • What are you eating now that contributes to being overweight?
  • What type of changes in your diet can not only help you with loosing weight, but with maintaining a healthy weight?

You get the idea. You need to ask the type of questions that can generate the right information to assist you in changing.

2. Specify your goals

Once you are asking the right questions, you then need to specify exactly what behavior you wish to change. You also need to be clear about how you are going to measure and track your progress. Vague objectives like “I want to become a better person,” will not take you anywhere.

It’s better to be very specific, like: “I will stop screaming to my husband and child. Instead, I will state calmly and clearly what I need.” You can then add how you are going to measure your progress.

For example, if you have been loosing your temper at least 10 times a week, your goal could be: "I will keep calm while stating what I need, at least 2 out of 3 times.”

3. Monitor yourself

Start by monitoring yourself for a week or more to give you a baseline against which you will be able to measure your progress once you take action for change. Remember that different problems need to be measured differently.

For example, consumption problems (like overeating, drinking, or spending money) are best measured by the amount consumed or spent. For emotional problems (like anger or depression), measure the frequency, duration, and intensity of the episode. Remember that frequency usually changes before intensity. A general rule is that multiple measures are better than a single measure. When in doubt, measure more rather than less.

Keep track also of the events that immediately precede and follow your problem behavior. For example: Do you eat more when something makes you feel angry? Lonely? Happy? What happens right after an angry outburst? Does the other person give in? Do you go and have a drink? Or do you withdraw to be alone?

Make a written list of the statements you make to justify your problem behavior. You might be surprise! You might find you say to yourself things like: “After all I’ve done today, I deserve this piece of cake!”

Remember. . .

When contemplating change, your objective should be to be more aware of your problem behavior. You need to gain insight into how your thinking and feeling helps maintain the problem. Then, start developing more self-motivation by seeing the value of change.

If you are willing to contemplate change, I have good news for you. I just opened registration for my 2012 “REWIRE your brain for success” coaching program. The program starts in January 18. This program will teach you powerful strategies for making change easier and effective. To find out more about the program, simply click here, or Register for REWIRE your brain for success   on Eventbrite

Photo by: Mendhak