Advertising
Advertising

To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes

To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes

Change isn’t a given.

Despite all the many ways that we all want to change and irrespective of our track record – it is never a simple process. In addition, the bigger the change you want to make, the harder it can seem to accomplish it.

Making a change, a life affirming change, that continues on for the rest of your life and not for the next year can be a cumbersome process fraught with unique plans and directives on how to accomplish it. But when broken down to it’s most simplest of components, there are really only five stages one need go through.

Stage 1: Identify What You Can’t Accept About Yourself Anymore

I want to be a better person!

I want to find my passion!

Advertising

Change starts with identifying what you want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be specific at this point, you only need to identify the high-level accomplishments of what you want to achieve. Perhaps “finding your passion” is too nebulous and something more direct such as “I want to figure out what I really like about my job” are more useful. However, you start, you must identify what the change is you are looking to make.

Stage 2: Break It down into Baby Steps

Change begins to fail when we don’t further decompose or break down what steps we need to take to make that change in ourselves. By breaking down the steps to make the change in our lives, we are simplifying the work to create change and identifying the barriers in our way that could slow us down and hinder our progress.

What is passion?

What is being a better person?

A further refinement of these changes (re: the goal) could be – “I will write down daily what I enjoy doing to find my passion” or “I will do three kind things for three strangers every day”. We have now taken our change and attached objectives to what we are looking to change along with time based accomplishments for the when and where of what we will accomplish.

Advertising

Change is not a single, arching achievement, it is a consistent implementation of small, executable tasks.

Stage 3: Start Tracking Everything, No Matter Big or Small

Large goals – being a better person, finding your passion – can be hard to measure, but it can be done. However, what is most important is for us to track the occurrence of those changes on something as simple as a Google Spreadsheet.

How many people did I help this month?

How many journal entries did I write down this past year?

It is inevitable that we become frustrated with the lack of progress in change because we do not think we have achieved our overall goals for change when what we have made is progress. Progress towards the goal, progress towards change.

Advertising

Tracking and recording your change is an incredible way for you to be able to look back at where you started and say to yourself – “Wow, I have come a long way and I am ready to keep going.”

Stage 4: Keep Failing, and Grow Stronger Every Time

I have consistently found, my greatest success at implementing change to be the result of my ability to keep failing. This seems backward to keep failing while trying to implement a change in yourself, but I have found time and time again that it is the failure in trying to implement that change that makes me stronger and more willing to get back up and try again. As I push myself harder to make that change, to get better at something, to improve, I will fall and make mistakes and through those mistakes I will learn to get better.

If you are continually succeeding as you implement your goals towards change, than you are not really making a change, you are instead, patting yourself on the back for having not pushed yourself today.

Stage 5: Rinse and Repeat

Even when I have implemented these first four stages of change, I have often found the need to take a step back and re-examine my goals and what I want to achieve.

Is the change I seek to implement still to big?

Advertising

How am I tracking my progress?

Am I pushing myself hard enough?

For this reason, the final stage of change is for you to look back at what you are trying to change and tweak what you are doing. Oddly enough, this can be the hardest stage of change as we turn a critical eye to ourselves in what we are trying to change.

Am I really being a better person by doing something nice for three strangers a week? Has it become so easy at this point that the change I’m looking to implement really is no longer there?

Beyond all these stages of change, there is a consistent theme of will, commitment and the desire to make this change. It’s inherent in the entire process and can be the deciding factors as to whether we actually achieve change. These stages cannot imbue you with that sense of will, commitment, desire and drive but where they can help is to reduce the barriers you face, how you approach them and you do when faced them.

The rest is up to you.

More by this author

Greg Thomas

Software Architect

Successful People Aren’t Luckier Than Everybody Else, They Just Know How to Make Good Decisions To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes Bad Bosses Bark Out Orders, Good Bosses Coach Their Teams Your Routine is the Key to Achieving Your Goals Why you need a Weekly Reset

Trending in Psychology

1 Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult? 2 Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality 3 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 4 4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting 5 How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 20, 2020

Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Hope is not a strategy when it comes to change. Commitment is what is needed to make real change happen. Can people change? Absolutely, but exchanging your excuses for commitment is necessary to get started.

Human nature leans toward habits, which can become ingrained over the years, but that doesn’t mean habits can be undone.

The good news is that your personality and behaviors can be changed, but it is up to you. Below are some tips to help you get started with change.

1. Figure out What You Need to Change

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of something you would like to change. That’s great! The first step toward change is acknowledging that you have something you need to change.

Look at the repeated problems in your life, the issues that seem to come up time and time again. Do you keep gravitating toward the wrong relationships, but you blame the people you are choosing, rather than looking at your problem in the selection process?

Do you jump from one job to another, yet blame co-workers and bosses, rather than look at what you may be doing to cause problems and dissatisfaction on the job?

We are creatures of habit, so look at the negative patterns in your life. Then, look inside to see what’s causing these repeated life problems to occur. If you can’t figure it out on your own, consider going to a counselor for better understanding. Once you recognize the area that requires change, you can move to the next step.

2. Believe That Change Is Indeed Possible

There are people out there who believe that personality is unchangeable. When confronted with their problem, such as constant negativity, they lash back with “that’s just who I am.” It may be who you are, but does it need to be?

Change in personality and behaviors is possible. Nobody stays the same from one year to the next, let alone across a decade, so why not move change in the direction that is best for you? Be proactive about the change you want in your life, including the belief that change can occur.

Advertising

Look for success stories and people who have changed and done what you so deeply desire to do. Seeing that others have been where you have are and have accomplished the change you desire will help you in your process to accomplish that change.

3. List the Benefits of This Change

In order for people to change, they need to buy into the premise that the change is necessary for their betterment. For example, maybe your goal is to be more productive at work. There are many benefits that could come from this, including:

  • Getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
  • Having more time for your family.
  • Getting a promotion
  • Being liked and appreciated by your boss.
  • Being part of the success of the company.

One of the best ways to help yourself stick to the commitment of change is to make a list of the benefits that the change will bring in your life. Make one list of the benefits for your life and another for your loved ones. Recognizing the full spectrum of benefits, including how your change will affect those closest to you, will help you stick with the process of change.

When you have moments of weakness, or fail on a particular day or time, then getting back on track becomes easier when you review your list on a regular basis. Posting your “benefits of change” list somewhere where you see it often, such as a bathroom mirror, will help you be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing.

4. Make a Real Commitment to Change

Make a commitment to the time frame needed for the change to happen. If you want to lose 50 lbs., then set out a realistic plan of a few pounds per week and a timeline that reflects those goals.

It will take you a lot longer than a month, but setting realistic goals will help you stick to your commitment. Change happens one day at a time. It is not immediate, but over the course of time because of your dedication and commitment to the process.

It also helps if you make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.[1]

People can change using SMART goals

    An example of this would be a person who wants to become an active runner so they can tackle a half marathon. The first step would be to research what other people have done for training plans to achieve this goal.

    Advertising

    Runners World lays out specifics for a beginner to train for a half marathon: “Target the Long Run: Every other week, increase your long run by 1.5 miles until you’re run/walking 13 to 14 miles. On alternate weeks, keep your long run to no longer than three miles. Your longest long run should fall two weeks before your half-marathon. Plan to take about 15 weeks to prepare for the big day.”[2]

    These kinds of specificities will help you create a personalized plan that is achievable and time-bound.

    You can learn more about writing SMART goals here.

    5. Create a Plan of Attack

    You need a set of steps outlined to succeed. This is why 12-step programs are so successful. You can’t simply walk into a meeting and be cured and changed. You need to mentally process the change in order for the change to be lasting and effective.

    Create a plan for your change. Be realistic and investigate what other people have done to change.

    For example, if you are dealing with anxiety and want to change that, then seek out therapy methods to address your problem. Stick with the therapy plan until your change process is complete. Simply hoping the anxiety will someday go away is not a plan.

    6. Commit to Action

    It is wonderful to set a goal for change and to write it down, but if you don’t act, then your mental commitment means nothing. There is no actual commitment unless action follows. To best kick start our change, the key is to act now[3].

    For example, if you committed to lose 50lbs, then now is the time to go join a gym, hire a trainer, and walk into a weight loss clinic to get support. We can make up our mind to be determined to change, but if action does not follow soon thereafter, then you will likely fail.

    If you wait until later that week, you will get caught up in doing your daily routine, things for works, taking care of others, or whatever it may be; there will be distractions that will derail you from taking action later. There is no better time to take action than when you make the decision to change.

    Advertising

    For example, if you decide you want to finally write that book that is in your mind, but you don’t have a working laptop, then go and get a laptop today. Then, set aside an hour each day after work (and on your calendar) so that you can write. Instead of going out with friends after work, you are committing to achieve this goal, and you have time set aside to make that goal happen.

    7. Find a Support System

    When people want to change, finding a support system is key. A great way to find support is through group therapy or support groups. If you have a substance abuse issue, for example, you can find groups that specialize is supporting you through recovery and change.

    If you prefer to find support in the comfort of your own home, then you can look for online support forums and Facebook groups that deal with whatever change you are looking to pursue.

    Your ability to be successful in change is dependent on your ability to dive in; support systems help you with the initial dive and staying committed thereafter. and will help you stay committed to the process. Don’t underestimate the power you have by partnering with others who are seeking the same change.

    8. Get Uncomfortable

    Change should be uncomfortable. You are entering new territory and stepping out of your comfort zone. Your mind and past habits will be resistant to the change, as it is uncomfortable and difficult.

    If you give up because of the discomfort, then you are destined to fail in your pursuit of change. Embrace the discomfort associated with change and recognize that it puts you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.

    9. Stick to the Plan

    When people decide to change, sticking to it is difficult. If you get derailed from your plan, don’t berate yourself. Instead, allow yourself some margin of error and then get back on track.

    You can’t expect to go on a diet without splurging sometimes. The key is “sometimes.” The sooner you get back on track, the more successful you will be in accomplishing your change goals.

    Other researchers on the topic of change believe this process is about dedication and commitment to the change desired in our day to day lives, as Douglas LaBier from the Huffington Post so aptly stated:[4]

    Advertising

    “Change occurs from awareness of what aspects of our personality we want to develop, and working hard to “practice” them in daily life.”

    Here are some tips on sticking to a plan:

    Engage in Self-Reflection

    Reflect on things that have derailed you in the past and problem solve them before they happen.

    Jot down those things that tend to get you off track. Now, list ways to combat the derailments before they happen. For example, if you are wanting to lose weight but you work late hours, then commit to morning workouts.

    If you know that in the past you would continually hit the snooze button and subsequently miss the workouts, then hire a trainer for early morning workouts. You are less likely to miss your workout if you have real money attached to it and someone counting on you to show up. You could also schedule morning workouts with a friend, so you know there is someone showing up and you don’t want to let them down.

    Brainstorm solutions for your past derailments so that this time around you are ready to stick to the plan and the commitment you have made to change.

    Define Your Commitment

    Commitment is a daily mental and physical plight when it comes to change. If your commitment is to lose weight, then be specific about how you are going to achieve your change. For example, you decide you are going to stick to 1,800 calories a day and a 1-hour workout every day.

    Then, write those goals down and chart your daily progress. Hold yourself accountable.

    Final Thoughts

    Can people change? Hopefully, by now, you believe that they can. If you have a sense of commitment and persistence, change is possible with any life experience.

    Start small, create specific goals, and don’t wait to get started. You’ll be amazed how far change will take you.

    More on How to Make Changes in Your Life

    Featured photo credit: Jurica Koletić via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next