by: Stephanie Pichan
Change is hard. Big changes, small changes; even the changes you want to make. Millions of dollars and man hours are spent each year trying to figure out the magic bullet for how to get people to cross over to better behavior more easily, quickly, and without too much disruption. Change is dynamic and, while some techniques may work, lasting change can be difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible. Not everyone will respond to techniques the same way and it takes self evaluation to discover what works best for you. Let’s talk about motivation. While it’s not the only component to effective change, motivation is an important piece, especially in the beginning of a journey to change. Merriam-Webster defines motivation as a force or influence that causes someone to do something. Do you know what influences you? In our busy world we often don’t take the time to reflect on why we make the choices we do. Reflecting on “why” you do the things you do can open up a different way of thinking and help you discover your intrinsic reasons for making the choices you make. Intrinsic motivation (behavior driven by internal rewards) is one of the most powerful tools for change. So, how can you tap into this type of motivation? Set aside 15 minutes and with a piece of paper and writing utensil, I want to challenge you to do this activity today:
- Pick a behavior you could improve.
- Ask yourself, if I don’t change [insert behavior], how might this negatively affect me or those I care about?
- Imagine yourself having changed the behavior, what does that look like? How do you feel? How are your relationships positively affected?
- List 5 reasons why you might want to change.
Now that you know your own reasons for wanting to change, do you feel more motivated? What’s your next step? Don’t lose sight of the “why” along the way. It might be helpful to write down the reasons you want to change and hang them on your fridge or somewhere you will be sure to see them each day. If you aren’t feeling motivated, it’s ok, change is a process and even when we want to change, we don’t always feel ready. Don’t forget to recognize that taking time to do the activity shows even a little bit of motivation towards wanting to change. Wherever you are in the journey, be patient with yourself, long-lasting change takes time.
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About the author: Stephanie Pichan is the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Whitaker LaChance Agency in Portage, Michigan. She’s a graduate of the Community Health Education program at Western Michigan University where she worked on an innovative team for 10 years developing health technology behavior-change interventions. She has a specific interest in the area of holistic health and believes in the healing power of food and its role in disease prevention. Although she strives to get at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she believes it’s important to indulge from time to time; ice cream is usually the winner. Whether through work, volunteering, or every day connections, she’s passionate about helping others live their best life possible. Stephanie is developing the health and wellness area at Whitaker LaChance and using her creativity to contribute to the vision of the marketing team. She’s excited to be an integral part of helping the agency grow and expand.