If Change Was Easy, We Would All Do It

Yes. If change was easy, we would all do it. Standing still will not move us forward. Limiting our learning will not create a growth mindset. Change is required. It just isn’t always easy to do.

A few weeks ago in the Lead Change Google+ Community, the question of the week was:

“For you personally, what helps you make change stick? What practice(s) has helped you change a habit, adopt a new habit, or change an attitude or mindset?”

Community Insights: Making Change Stick

The Lead Change Community jumped in with real, practical insights. Here are some edited snippets:

Joy Guthrie: Two things, I think, have been most helpful in making change stick for me. 1) Repetition of the new behavior and process; and 2) The Buddy system, being involved in a change with someone else.

Brian Rensing: For me, I always look for the thing that will put me "on the hook" in a way that I cannot avoid accountability.

Jonena Relth: Having an accountability partner helps me stay "true north.”

Kate Nasser: I keep the desire going by knowing the true purpose. Write it down! Read it each morning, noon, and night. The purpose makes you want to repeat it and the repetition of action tells you if the purpose is strong enough. If the purpose is not strong enough, the action will seem burdensome and complex. If it is strong enough, the repetition will make the new actions seem easier over time.

Hoda Maalouf: If something/someone really annoys/hurts me, I usually take a strict decision to move on and not look back. It has worked well for me for two main reasons: I focus so well on my next move so that I won't have time to look back. Second, time will heal and there are other beautiful/interesting things/people to know/deal with.

Pioneer Outfitters: I would have said "the buddy system" but I suppose it depends upon the "buddy.” I do understand that it comes from within, but at the same time, fighting agoraphobia on a parallel path seems to be too much to win on our own.

Linda Fitzgerald: Sometimes fear (like being told one has a serious illness or might have it if we don't change our ways); sometimes a deep desire to do something differently than in the past.

Alli Polin: I changed my habit by making it more like play. By adding some fun, pushing myself, and competing against myself, I've been stepping it up like a machine. I wear a pedometer that wirelessly connects to a website where I can "compete" against friends and my personal best. The only real competition is with myself.

Lalita Raman: For me it is always the “Why?” If the “why” appeals to me, I'll change.

Purpose, Accountability, and Repetition

Purpose, accountability, and repetition are common themes to making change stick. A strong purpose puts the power in the change while accountability partners keep us on the right paths. Adopting and keeping new habits happen when we keep doing the change we desire. In today's world, an accountability partner can be an app (e.g., FitBit, Mint, etc.).

Another essential element, I believe, is mindset. We can have all of the above yet, without a shift in mindset, we can begin to spin out. Purpose can help shift our mindset, yet there needs to be a self-discipline, too, along with a growth mindset.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., wrote an insightful book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She defines a growth mindset as:

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”

It is an embedded desire to always get better and then take the disciplined effort to do it. Purpose and mindset need to be tightly intertwined, as they are “hand-in-glove” to do the work and make the necessary changes.

Making Change Stick

In our challenges, we develop. In our challenges, we learn. In our challenges, we change. If we don’t, then purpose-filled life and relationships will pass us by. It is that simple.

To live, we need to change. It is about growth and improving what and how we do things.

To lead, we need to change. It is about growth and embracing a community to advance forward with meaning.

Change has to stick if we are going to be the best person and leader we can ever be. This is our calling in which our purpose must take root.

To make change stick, we need to:

  1. Develop and keep a growth mindset
  2. Write our purpose and read it 3 times daily
  3. Define new actions to take and new habits to embrace.
  4. Hold ourselves accountable. Use apps to enforce and track accountability. Engage others to hold us accountable.
  5. Celebrate milestones!
  6. Keep purpose-centered; keep a growth mindset

Take the graphic here and make it your computer background. Keep grounded in change.

These steps may be imperfect but they are a step in the right direction. If you have ideas to add, please do so. It does take a community to build and develop purpose-filled leaders. We need to be that community.

We need to lead the change within ourselves and set an example in which we can be proud of. Maybe more importantly, we need to set the example in which the next generation can be proud of and advance forward.

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