I want to address the real reasons behind successful change.

The first reason people change is that they really want to change and they are prepared to do whatever it takes. Now lots of people say they want to change: that is a really easy thing to do.  Some people make a habit of it and get very good at saying it. They may even convince people.  But talk is cheap and the only question that really counts is, “Do you want it enough to do whatever it takes?”

Many people balk at the idea that the price of change is not negotiable.  They really want to change; they have motivation, but not enough to do whatever it takes. They show some initial interest, then they begin to look for reasons why they should not change.  Here are some common ones you hear:

  •  It’s harder than I thought
  • I don’t like what I have to do
  • I’m not sure this is right for me
  • I haven’t got time
  • I’ve been really busy
  • I’ll start tomorrow
  • I’m still getting ready
  • It’s taking too long

Yes there are lots of reasons to quit (or never get started): really good ones. Many people find them easy to believe.  But none of them will make you successful with change.

People who regularly succeed at change understand something others don’t. They understand that they must do whatever it takes and they are allowed not to like the process. The change process sucks a lot of the time.  It is fraught with challenges and discouragements, it can take far longer than expected, it pushes you to your limits and beyond, it’s inconvenient, and it can be just plain unpleasant.  The good news is that to be successful, you don’t have to like it.

You just have to do it. You have to be motivated enough to accept the change process warts and all. Now I’m not saying change is always that bad. Sometimes it’s not unpleasant: you may even enjoy it. But whether it’s a drag or a joy is not the important issue.  The important issue is you have to do whatever it takes.

Some people are quite prepared to do whatever it takes, as long as they enjoy it. Great, but you can’t negotiate the cost. Difficult change will cost you, and you’re probably not going to like it.

The reason people succeed with change is that they have enough motivation to do whatever it takes. It’s a little easier to put up with the process if you have some awareness of what you may experience from the outset. But no matter how informed you may be, you’re never going to succeed if you come up with excuses and quit.

One of the reasons people change is that they’re motivated enough to do whatever it takes. They don’t have to like the process, but they commit to it.

Dr Steve Barlow