What Really Prompts Change?

Habit Change

In the trial and error (mostly error) process of trying to change a habit, most of us have discovered what does NOT work. It does not work to set a resolution and then apply sheer willpower or positive thinking to make that resolution come true.

Real change tends to occur after certain key events. These events have been cataloged by author Dr. Jeffrey Kottler in his book Change: What Really Leads to Lasting Personal Transformation (Oxford Press, 2014).

According to his list, people often change when they encounter an important life transition, such as a new developmental stage. Or, they change when their life situation shifts enough that they become significantly dissatisfied with the direction things are going. A life shift may also lead to “hitting bottom” or a brand new insight, two more factors that can prompt the process of change.

What if you want to change and you are not expecting any special life events or life transitions? Consider these three ideas:

  1. Increase your sense of urgency about your need to change. Ask yourself the difficult questions that will unveil your dissatisfaction with your current situation. Imagine the future that you will live if you continue your current unhealthy habits.
  2. Take a small step toward changing your bad habit. When you experience a sense of mastery over a small step, you get the ball rolling. You build confidence that you can, indeed, make forward progress toward your goal because after all, you have already conquered part of it.
  3. Seek out a new perspective. Talk to someone different who may shed new light on your situation. Seek out a novel environment that may prompt you to see things differently. New adventures often give us new perspective.

What has prompted real change for you in the past?

To read about the myths of change, check out the current blog post at pocketchangebook.com.


2 thoughts on “What Really Prompts Change?

  1. I think I wanted to become a person that was trustworthy and dependable. If you ever feel like someone let you down, you know how bad that can feel. Now if you were doing and acting that same way to other people, you were letting them down in the same manner. I think that is what has prompted me to not want to be “that person.”

  2. I think the one that rings true for me is “seeking out a new perspective.” Sometimes tyou move to a new town or new job, or start hanging out with a different group of people. They think about things in a totally different way, and so you start thinking about things differently too–and realize that changing your ways is possible!!

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