Changing a Behavior Takes Deliberate Effort…

We all need to grow and develop, and that often means changing some well-worn behaviors. But how exactly do you do that, especially when you know how hard behavior change can be? Try following these four steps.

  1. Increase your self-awareness. You can only change your behavior when you’re aware of how it’s perceived by others and of the thoughts and feelings you experience as you attempt to change. Regularly seek feedback, and be wary of any instincts that feedback is either unnecessary or inappropriate. Noticing such thoughts is the first step to overcoming them.
  2. Make commitments. This will raise the likelihood that you’ll follow through. Tell other people—a coach, peer, or team member—what you’re hoping to work on.
  3. Overcome interference. Watch out for thoughts that might derail your intentions, like “Do I need to change that behavior? I’ve succeeded so far.” These defensive feelings are normal, but you need to recognize them for what they are: interference.
  4. Practice. It’s rare to set an objective for personal change, choose a path, and execute it with no trouble. Successful change usually requires trial and error, which takes deliberate practice. So start small and thoughtfully try out the change and learn from your experience.

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