Change is such a scary proposition for many of us that we avoid it at any cost—even when its result can be overwhelmingly positive.
(PRWEB) August 17, 2013
A recent Inc. article featured 10 things leaders need to learn how to do in their quest to be successful, and most have one thing in common: they require some sort of behavior change. FPMG, a performance management firm, acknowledges that change is difficult for most people, but it’s identified some strategies that can help make the process of making mid-year changes more palatable.
“Change is such a scary proposition for many of us that we avoid it at any cost—even when its result can be overwhelmingly positive,” says Denise Federer, Ph.D., FPMG’s founder. “The one time of year when change seems to be more palatable is around the beginning of a new year, when ‘fresh starts’ are often sought, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be thinking about change all the time, especially as we pass the midpoint of the year.”
Federer notes that getting started is the hardest thing about change. People enjoy operating within their comfort zones, and they typically aren’t going to even consider making changes unless they’re uncomfortable or miserable enough with the status quo.
FPMG has found there are three main reasons people are resistant to change, the “three Ds”:
- Lack of desire. They don’t see the need for it. They have to really care about the outcome; it has to be worth it for them.
- Lack of determination. They don’t believe they can make the necessary changes; it’s just too hard.
- Lack of dedication. They aren’t committed to making consistent changes that will stick long term.
“Ideally, all three of those ‘Ds’ are present when people buy into change, but what’s often overlooked is that even small changes are better than none at all,” Federer says. “Change isn’t an ‘all or nothing’ proposition, so it’s perfectly appropriate—and maybe even preferable—to start slowly and focus on the process rather than the outcome. When people concentrate on the steps and activities that go into achieving a goal such as changing a behavior, they can celebrate incremental victories to reward themselves and keep things moving forward.”
Federer adds that it’s important to realize perfection isn’t a necessity, and there’s no reason to be distressed when slips occur along the way. It’s also critical to make appropriate comparisons, i.e., consider it a “win” to go from not exercising to walking 30 minutes three times a week, understanding it’s irrelevant if others are working out more frequently.
In addition to pain tolerance, Federer believes there are three other critical obstacles that may interfere with the process of change:
- Inertia. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Even successful people eventually plateau, and the common response to that is to work harder or faster doing things the same way—which rarely achieves the desired breakthrough.
- Lifecycle stage. Where people are in their professional or personal lives will have a significant effect on how stuck or inspired they are to leave their comfort zones and make changes.
- Emotions. It’s well documented that negative thinking can powerfully affect the way people feel and behave. The good news is that behavior is easier to change than feelings—and there are ways to combat negative thinking.
“We can all learn from the experiences of elite athletes, who understand that to be at the top of their game, they need to create challenges for themselves and move beyond their comfort zones to achieve the next level of success,” Federer says. “They also realize that change is measured by frequency, intensity and duration, with the latter being the key.”
FPMG is a Florida performance management consultancy dedicated to guiding successful people to be their best. Based in Tampa, we help you uncover the non-financial issues that impact the bottom line. FPMG offers consulting for family business problems, financial advisors legacy advising, leadership development, and more.