Change Made Easier

How to Get What You Want Out of Life

The way to move past your old belief system and forward to accomplish change requires recognition and acceptance of the fact that you have dominion in your life. No one is forcing you to eat the bagel or not look for a better job. You control the actions (or lack thereof) that you take. This is the moment of truth, when your real desire and willingness to change will make themselves clear. It is a step that requires courage, a sense of humor, energy and a plan. You may find, as many others do, says Zander, that your plan works best if you make change gradually, one step at a time. Start with small and achievable changes. Perhaps it’s choosing to walk to the mailbox instead of driving or to give your spouse a big hello when he comes home instead of the usual grunt.

To maximize your chances of success, Zander has a final piece of advice: Build in consequences that follow should you fail to stay with your plan. People who have little real intent for change — be it staying on a diet, going to the gym, working on their career or marriage — only feel bad about themselves as a consequence of broken self-promises. And most of us are amazingly adept at getting over that feeling. Instead, if you create your own punishment for breaking your promise to yourself — something with real impact, which causes real discomfort — you will be more likely to keep your promise to yourself. This will be especially effective if you tell your buddy about your promise of punishment so he can keep you honest. Your consequence might be a monetary fine payable to a charity you do not support or withdrawal of a pleasurable pastime — anything that has value to you and that you don’t want to lose. Attaching consequences is remarkably efficient. It generally takes no more than one or two consequence events for people to realize they would rather make the changes they desire than suffer the consequences.

On the flipside, feeling the benefits of the new positive choices is a huge reward in itself. Happy changing.

Reprinted with the permission of:
Bottom Line Publications
Boardroom, Inc.
281 Tresser Blvd., 8th Floor
Stamford, CT 06901