Michael discusses how he moved from not-being-ready for a change to being-ready to change.
He explores the 3 C’s of change: Commitment, Capacity and Confidence, and the 5 corresponding components to each key area.
“I know I need to make some changes but I’m not quite ready” I say to myself as New Year’s Eve approaches (Read more about this on a previous blog). I had this sinking gut feeling I just couldn’t shake no matter how much egg-nog I sipped. My brain also knew that my gut was on to something because it was coming up with plans and goals and reasons.
But there was something missing. I couldn’t comprehend how on earth I would be able to muster the energy and find the time for adding anything extra to my life. I was sold an image of self-care that was meditation apps and Peloton machines in between work meetings and kids’ activities. I was already feeling overwhelmed with very busy days of working, parenting and coaching more than one of my kids’ sports teams. If I was going to honor this inner push for changes in my lifestyle I was going to have to find an answer to the energy and time question.
Almost 2 years has passed since that time in my life and I ended up creating the time and the energy to make significant changes to my lifestyle. It was a gradual process of adding small changes over time and it was difficult – like pushing a snowball – a habit snowball – around the grass to make the bottom of a snowman.
I have done a lot of learning since that day. I have read and listened and talked. There is research and books on change connected with addictions, and some about organizational changes, but not a lot of concrete strategies of how to help people make lifestyle changes. I started to pay more attention to my counselling clients’ process trying to change – and realized that despite my reading and learning it was not clear to me how to get there. So, I came up with my own process by taking some of what I learned from researchers, my friends, my clients and my own experiences.
I call it the 3-C’s of Change. It involves 3 skill-based areas we can assess and grow in order to increase our readiness to make lifestyle changes. Assess your own readiness with this Quiz. Along the way I learned that if I worked on the 5 components of each of the 3 C’s of Change I ended up with a skill set that I can use at home or at work. I can apply this formula to changing how I eat, how productive I am at work, how much I use my phone, how I speak to my kids, how much I exercise, or how to improve my sleep. What a powerful tool in my toolbox!
The 3 C's of Change
There are 3 areas of readiness to make lifestyle change: Commitment, Capacity and Confidence. Assess your Readiness For Change here.
Commitment is how aware you are of the need to change and how accepting you are that you need to change now.
Capacity is the planning and thought you have put toward why you want to change, how that change might look, and the space you feel you have in your life to make the changes.
Confidence is your personal belief in your ability to pull this off, working through perceived roadblocks and inevitable setbacks.
The 3 C's and their 5 Components
The 5 components of Lifestyle Change Commitment
Acceptance – acknowledging that you need to make changes. Sometimes we are not even aware of how bad things are and need others to let us know, or we need to hit rock bottom. Take the risk someone you trust for some feedback.
Understanding – our awareness of the pros and cons of making our changes. This process can happen out of your awareness or you can do it purposefully in conversation with your partner, while on a walk or on a piece of paper.
Keenness – is our commitment to take action ASAP. Lots of us have ideas of changes but we kick the can down the road. How do you bring it to the forefront?
Action Planning – deciding the day and time you will start. The more specific you get the better. Vague promises to ourselves rarely propel us to take action.
Accountability – gently increasing the pressure on ourselves to make the change by talking about it with other people. Some people need a coach, others need a buddy, others do it on social media.
The 5 components of Lifestyle Change Capacity
Purpose – knowing the driving force behind your desire to change. The reason for our change is deeply emotional, so consider whether or not you are showing up on this earth the way you were meant to show up.
Goals – you have some goals that you want to reach. What have you dreamed about doing, or what have you admired in other people’s habits that you wished you could have? Write them down. Everything becomes more concrete when we write them down.
Roadmap – outlining the steps to reach your goal. Part of what blocks people is not seeing a path to success. Break your goal into A-Z, with A being now and Z being when you reach your goal. Fill in the steps.
Personal Responsibility – you are not waiting for others to change to improve your lifestyle. The truth is – no one is coming to the rescue when it comes to YOUR actions. Own that truth and use it as leverage to bettering yourself.
Space – you can envision making space (time and energy) for the changes you want to make. If we take a closer look at how we live our days we can find some fat to cut, or better yet we find a way to say ‘no’ to some things and fill that in with valuable ‘me’ time. Start with 30 minutes per week, and grow it gradually every two weeks.
The 5 components of Lifestyle Change Confidence
Resourcefulness – believing you can work around inevitable obstacles that might derail you. This is a game-changing skill we can apply everywhere in our life. Imagine what things would be like if you felt like you were able to work around anything that got in your way? That’s a super power.
Grit – knowing you won’t quit no matter how difficult things get. Learning to stick things out takes practices, but eventually you will start to believe it’s part of your identity: “I’m the kind of person who is the last to quit hard things.”
Resilience – believing you will quickly bounce back from setbacks. They are going to happen – so we might as well develop a process of accepting, forgiving ourselves, turning the page and starting fresh in the morning.
Growth Mindset – understanding that we grow best through daily progress and consistent effort. We need to be realistic about how quickly we can form habits. The take time. We can do a lot with a long enough time horizon.
Self-Compassion – giving yourself permission to be a flawed human who makes mistakes. Being hard on ourselves is something we learn young – using the stick as the motivator. I’m advocating for a more gentle approach to self-motivation – one that allows you to be imperfect with a focus on the impact of small, daily improvements. Throw in some rewards and appreciation for what we have and we set ourselves up for success.