No one can “make” another person change his or her behavior. Only the person himself can control his choices and create that change. All I can do for you is what I do when I’m sitting in a room with a client—that is help you to determine what your goals are and what you truly want for yourself, help you to identify your current negative and positive behaviors, and help you to create a plan of action that will facilitate the changes you want to make. Doing all that is a process—one I go through with my clients every day.
Change doesn’t happen in an instant. In fact, most of us, at least initially, are afraid of change. If you don’t believe me, just think about how many people remain for years in dead-end jobs or moribund marriages. Why? Because they may not be happy with the result of their current behavior, but at least they know what that result is. And they’re afraid that if they change their behavior, the result may be worse rather than better than what they know. Even our bodies hate to change. All our systems and our organs work constantly, every day, to keep things the same. What our bodies seek is homeostasis—the maintenance of internal stability. That’s a biological fact.
So how do we bring about change for ourselves, mentally and physically? It is, as I’ve said, a process. We move from not thinking about change at all to thinking about it, planning it, and then testing various means of creating it.
Since you’re reading this article, you may at least have reached the point of thinking about change. To move past that point, you need to ask yourself three questions:
- Why do I want to change my behavior (the pros)?
- Why shouldn’t I try to change my behavior (the cons)?
- Do my pros outweigh my cons?
If your answer to the last question was “yes,” you’re at the point of being interested in change. Being interested, however, isn’t a strong enough feeling or motivation to get you where you think you want to be. If you’re merely interested, you’re not committed, and you’ll most likely give up as soon as you encounter an obstacle or challenge.
Being committed means you’ll do whatever it takes; being interested means you’ll do what’s convenient. Let’s say you’re thinking about something as simple as changing your hairstyle. You’re interested, but you’re not committed. Chances are the minute someone questions the idea, or if you can’t get an appointment right away, you’ll drop the whole thing and move on to some other “interest.”
So, are you committed or interested?