How Does Change Really Happen?

As a counselor and as a coach there is one thing that people complain about A LOT! Most of us at one time or the other have felt this way too. It is that feeling of –


That stuck feeling is especially difficult when we know in our heads what we need to do to create the change to move forward but then for one reason or the other we do not do it. Well, if I may simplify the process of change may I suggest that real change requires three steps.

1. A decision

2. Practice

3. Accountability

Like I said, I am simplifying the process. However, ideally what we want to do is to rewire our brains to create new pathways which create new habits which creates CHANGE. I was listening to an interview yesterday where Barbara Oakley, PhD was interviewing a very successful entrepreneur and he said “When you take action you always get results.” The result may not always be exactly what we want, but it gets us closer to where we want to be. Hmmmmmmm.

So how do we create this change? Here are a couple of tips to get started:

1. Make a decision. When we decide what behaviors are not serving us well then we can decide to make a change. Do you want to portray being cool as a cucumber during a crisis instead of anxious and uneasy? Do you want to curve the amount of desserts you eat in order to live a healthier lifestyle? Do you want to start reading more in an effort to gain more knowledge on a particular subject and expand your mind? No matter what the behavior or desired goal, identify it and make a decision of what you want the change/improvement to look like.

2. Practice what you preach! You made your decision now practice the skill. The key is to be aware and to consciously make decisions throughout your day that allow you to practice what it is you want to learn to do or to change. The more we practice the more it becomes a habit. A habit is something we do subconsciously. It is something that we do without thinking. If we can consciously practice the new behavior/strategy/skill then it will eventually become part of our subconscious which means it becomes something we do automatically. This is our goal!

3. Be accountable to someone. Research shows that when you are partnered with a person who is in agreement with your goals and will hold you accountable to what you say – YOU WILL BE MORE SUCCESSFUL! I know that when I tell someone I am going to do something I make every effort to follow through because I really do not like feeling like I am giving an excuse for why I did not do what I said I was going to do. Of course, sometimes things come up, BUT more often than not, the reason for not following through is because when we are not accountable to someone we have a tendency to procrastinate. It’s true. Being accountable to someone increases our rate of success.

The steps to create change are simple – but not necessarily easy. Increase your chances for success by making a decision, practicing what you preach, and being held accountable. Remember, when we take action we will always get a result.

This is how we thrive. Live life better than good.

Please like, leave a comment and share this post with someone you know. Someone needs to read this today.

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Jennifer Slay is an award winning speaker and best selling author. She is a registered social worker and therapist and one half of the Thrive Experts. For more information or to book Jennifer/Thrive experts to speak at your event, email at or call 1-877-786-7190.

Photo credit: Jasmina Photography

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