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Psychology of Change

We all want to change something. Admit it. Who doesn’t dream of learning a new language, paying off your debts, or running a marathon? Well, maybe not the latter for everyone, but you get the drift. And change is great; it shakes up the status quo, cuts through the normal and everyday, and often challenges you to think, act and live in new and exciting ways.

And change doesn’t just stop with the personal; it’s a vital component of a living, breathing, evolving business. No successful company ever sat on its laurels. But change can be as tough as it is rewarding, and it’s certainly not always welcome.

“If it ain’t broke…”

“Change for change’s sake…”

We’ve heard it all; but implementing and embedding change can be easy, or, at least easier.

How? By understanding the psychology behind it. We’re not talking a Masters degree (although that would be useful), just getting to grips with the basic motivating factors behind successfully adopting those changes.

Remember your own attempts to change: like that time you vowed to start exercising every day without fail. Maybe you did the first day, and possibly even the second, but by the third, with motivation failing in light of the pouring rain, you hit snooze and got an extra 30 minutes sleep instead. We’ve all been there. Once the initial enthusiasm fades (and it inevitably does) we end up relying on willpower and self-control, and many scientists believe those to be finite resources.

So if science is against us, how do we stick to our guns? We cut out the middleman. Aristotle, a pretty clever chap as it turns out, said this: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Take that willpower; it’s over to habits.

A habit, a task, something you can do without even thinking about it; that is the goal here. Change happens when you no longer have to rely on willpower to get up out of bed to go for that run or remind yourself to use the new online form to book your holiday instead of nipping upstairs to HR; you just do it.

And how do you form that habit? Many ways, but a brilliant starter for ten is to explain why; more specifically why does this benefit me personally? Give someone a reason to use the online form and you’ll see that change. Throw in some accountability and you’ll see that change even faster.

Before you know it, you’ll be armed with the knowledge that running improves your health (the personal benefit), have signed yourself up for a marathon (accountability) and even a drizzly morning won’t see you snuggling under the duvet. Habit formed. Job done.

We’re scarlettabbott, #alwayson and your experts in change communications. Get in touch to find out how we can help you successfully make a change and embed your new habits.