It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or at what stage are you in life. You may probably want to change your behavior. But how? everyone has heard at least one time the phrase, people do not change. Change is not a choice. So is it really true or do people can change? Let’s discuss it in this post. Let’s start with the basics:

  1. The brain has two independent systems working at the same time. 
  • The emotional side is the instinct, which feels pain and pleasure. This side hates doing things without an immediate payoff.
  • The rational side which is known as a reflective or conscious system. His analysis is almost always directed at problems rather than at bright spots. Sometimes this side sees problems everywhere and goes into an “analysis paralysis”. 

So people tend to see change as something really hard because it requires a big amount of self-control. Self-control is an exhaustible resource. It is the willpower needed to fight things. When you give duties or learn a new skill it feels like there is a supervisor in charge. 

When people try to change behaviors they usually are fighting against behaviors that are done on autopilot, so they require careful supervision and a lot of self-control. 

In conclusion, change Is hard because people wear themselves out. When change is wanted you must reach the two brain sides, otherwise, you will have direction without motivation. 

Why do people lack resistance?

Change always comes with resistance. It’s the beginning stage of change. Resistance to a new action or thing. It is because the analytical side of the brain lacks direction, it leads the emotional side in circles. What looks like resistance is often lacking clarity.

Clarity dissolves resistance

Breaking cycles from the core:

When you want to change a vice, people tend to do what’s easy and available. If you want to change your drinking behavior you must not go after the drinking habit but against the purchasing habit. 

  • When you want to change you must provide crystal- clear direction. 
  • You must motivate your brain, it’s not laziness, it’s exhaustion.
  • Shape the path, it’s not a people problem but a situation problem

Remember that knowledge does not change behavior. Not because you know that smoking harms your body you will stop doing so.  

Solution-focused therapy

They care about the problem at hand. They ask specific questions to the patient like: what will you do instead? What will you be doing the next morning? How would your day be different if you did this? 

  • What exactly needs to be done differently?

The big problem small solution technique

Big problems are rarely solved with big solutions because they are too overwhelming and hard to accomplish. Instead implementing a series of small solutions will sum up to accomplish the big problem. 

The decision paralysis

Sometimes people cannot accomplish something because they are being offered too many options. As a result, they experience decision paralysis. Change can bring new choices that create uncertainty. When the road seems uncertain our emotional side will automatically choose the known path. 

How to change behaviors

Change is hard because we must convince our emotions to take the uncertain path even though it doesn’t seem convincing. 

We must script the critical moves of the new strategy if we want to change something. Make your team stay focused on the critical moves only. They will not get overwhelmed, they will not get exhausted, and will achieve more. 

What’s holding back someone from change?

  • The process could be very challenging and complicated
  • They do not care about it emotionally
  • People are very sensitive to the social norms
  • We assume that they know how to do it or are not convinced about it

We want a goal that can be accomplished in the short term, not the long term. When the goal is in years we will not pursue it. Fall in love with your long-term goals with short-term critical moves. 

Emotional goals perform better than financial goals. It’s better to set a goal like improving customer service rather than decreasing 10% refunds. It strikes directly into the emotional side of the brain and it is where change takes place. 

The enemy of change is rationalization. 

If we convince our emotional side first to change a certain action, our rational side of the brain will find the excuse or rational statement to make it happen. 

Remember to always look for a strong beginning focus on It, have a strong ending, and get moving. Do not worry about the middle because it’s always changing. 

The change formula is:

Analyze- think- change not see- feel- change 

Make your people feel a positive feeling. They broaden and build momentum. They shift your focus, increase your performance and improve your perspective. 

When change is your only choice:

People often change when changing is their only option. Most of the time people do not change because they aren’t required to do so or because it looks very risky. So 90% of people never change, in their entire lives. The reason is never knowledge, people know that smoking is bad for their health or that they should lose weight. But rationalization never wins.

People do not change because they have 3 choices; to change, to not change, or to die. Most pick not to change. It’s better than the unknown of risk and change. When people change is because change is their only choice. It is because they either change or they die. They already know how it looks and how it feels to be at the bottom, to have nothing, so they invest everything they’ve got into change.

We must create a crisis to convince people they’re facing a catastrophe and have no choice but to move. 

Make your team feel like you are already closer to the finish line, not at the beginning stages. People motivate themselves better when they’re almost over at the long journey rather than starting out a new journey. 

That will create in them a sense of progress and it is critical for their emotional side, otherwise, it can be easily demoralized. 

Select small wins for your team that have meaning and they’re within immediate results. 

Instill hope, it is precious when we talk about change. 

When you engineer early success, what you really are doing is engineering hope. Hope is always precious. Once people are feeling the momentum and seeing progress, it’s important to make their advances visible.

Small visible goals create momentum. 

According to the book Awaken the giant within by tony robbins,

there are 3 Elements of change:

1.- RAISE YOUR STANDARDS- the most important thing is changing what you demanded in yourself, write down all the things you no longer will accept. 

2.- CHANGE YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS- you’ll be lacking that sense of certainty that allows you to tap the deepest capacity that’s within you, even as you read this.  We must develop a sense of certainty that we can and will meet the new standards before they do. 

3.- CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY- In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know.

As soon as you truly commit to making something happen, the “how” will reveal itself. 

The consequences model:

When we have a decision to make, we weigh the costs and benefits of our options and make the choice that maximizes our satisfaction. Identities are central to the way people make decisions. Any change effort that violates someone’s identity is an immediate failure. So, ask this: how can you make change a matter of identity not a matter of consequences. 

The Power Of Decision

1.- Remember the true power of making decisions- a real decision is measured by the fact that youve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.

2.- Realize that the hardest step in achieving anything is making a true commitment- a true decision. Most successful people make decisions rapidly because they are clear on their values and what they really want for their life. 

3.- Make decisions often

4.- Learn from your decisions

5.- Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.

The Toyota example:

Toyota gave the freedom to its workers that if they spotted a defect they could stop the assembly line. They change their names to inventors. People were pushed to fulfill this identity description so they were perfectionists at their assembly line. It’s a matter of pride. 

Examples of employee’s identities:

  • Environmentalists
  • Inventors
  • Concern worker

Companies know that when pushing their teams to attain a sequence of small visible goals, they build momentum. So in conclusion small wins should be meaningful and within immediate reach. Your emotional side of the brain will start to feel the change. 

You people will always tend to go onto the easiest path. 

  • Remember always that the emotional side of the brain really hates to fail. 

Do not get disappointed about change, remember that: Everything is hard before it is easy.

In the business world, people reject the growth mindset. Businesspeople tend to think in two stages: You plan, and then you execute. There is no learning stage. So everything can look like a failure in the middle. 

A growth mindset reframes failure as a natural part of the change process. And that critical because people will persevere only if they perceive falling down as learning rather than as failing 

In times of change

we need to remind ourselves, again and again of certain basic truths. Our brains are muscles and they can be strengthened with practice. 

Our inspiration to change ourselves comes from our desire to live up to our identities. 

Never forget that motivation comes from confidence. If your emotional side of the brain must have to believe that change is possible. 

Conclusion

Change seems hard because we are approaching it the wrong way. We are trying to convince the emotional side of the brain to change behavior with facts not with emotions. People also create an imaginary resistance wall because they can, because change is not their only choice. Also do not forget about society, why would you like to change something if your society dictates that behavior, and in order to be accepted you must do it.

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