You want change. You want improvement. Or, you wouldn’t be reading this!
Chances are the change you’re looking for isn’t a sudden wish but something that’s been on your mind for some time. Most likely, you’ve even tried to make the changes you desire and you’re ready to tackle them from a different angle and with new resolve today.
So, what’s going to be different this time? This is the question you need to ask yourself. Followed by: How am I going to ensure I don’t get the same result? While both of these questions seem fairly basic, when you open them up and then distill them again, they pack some serious punch.
So, let’s open them up.
What’s going to be different this time?
Asking yourself this question forces you to examine your behaviour. Check in on what hasn’t worked in the past, circumstantially or behaviourally. How will you react differently this time? Make a list of at least 10 challenges that have presented in the past and prevented you from getting the results you want. Here are some ideas to start:
- Did I have a clear plan?
- What behaviours did I have a hard time sticking to?
- What environmental circumstances came up?
- What personal issues set me back?
- What challenges were presented through relationships with others?
- What did I prioritize ahead of these changes?
- What behaviours did I engage in that set me back from my goals?
- What patterns and habits were difficult for me to break?
- What rewards did I get from doing behaviours that were against my plan for change?
- Was change really as critically important to me then as it is now?
Until you know what barriers you were up against during your previous attempts, it’s hard to determine what will need to be different this time. Once you have your list compiled and are aware of your barriers, you can start to work through next steps to ensure change.
Next, crack open the question: How am I going to ensure I don’t get the same result?
For each of the challenges you listed, where change is needed, you’ll now need to identify a personal action that you can commit to taking instead of your previous actions. Find an alternative solution and plan for each barrier so that you are prepared when they present themselves.
Here’s a roadmap. Using the same list as above, work through each item with the secondary questions and create a plan to change your game.
- If you had a clear plan, keep moving through the next 9 questions. If you didn’t’, what plan will you make this time to secure change?
- Identify the behaviours that were most challenging for you and that would have the most impact on your changed results. Find a maximum of 5 critical behaviours and come up with alternate plans/strategies that you will choose to act on when you’re faced with needing to execute a critical behaviour.
- Knowing what things around you held you back allows you to recognize them and remove yourself from the situations, or avoid them all together.
- Being aware of your own internal setbacks is necessary so that you can come up strategies to deal with them next time. How did you react in the past? How will you choose to react in the future? A clear strategy already planned out will assist you in not backing yourself into a corner when things get tough.
- Who played a part in your past results? What changes in relationships or expectation management will you set now as you prepare to move forward?
- You’ve got to know what actions, time investments and projects you put ahead of your goals in the past. Getting these down on paper will help you to put them in perspective.
- A little self-reflection here. What things did you choose to do that you know moved you away from your goals? Acknowledge your choices.
- Know the habits you hold that get you into your ‘stuck’ routines. Read: Make a Planned Behavioural Impression. This will help you pre-set new routines that will take over your imprinted habits.
- Know what benefit you achieved, what purpose was fulfilled when you engaged in actions that were not the right ones for change. Next, figure out how the needed behaviours or a new behaviour can fulfill that same benefit or need for you.
- Why is change more important to you this time. Come up with 5 really solid arguments for yourself. This needs to be more important now or your chances of sticking with your plan will dwindle.
Once you’ve finished this exercise you will have identified ten factors that resulted in minimal change in the past, and come up with ten strategies to ensure that this time is different and that you will not get the same result. Your next step is distill all of this to one specific important reason that you will actually stick to this plan and hold yourself accountable. Why is this change non-negotiable for you? If you need some work on this, and you need to attach yourself to something bigger read Make Your Goal Bigger Than Yourself.
Change is hard. Change is necessary. Taking time to plan for change will get you unstuck and moving with a confident stride toward the results you want.
This time will be different.
This time you will not get the same results.
You will change.
This time you will Best Yourself!