Programs for self-improvement and personal change abound. The Internet provides an ongoing stream of advice regarding improving yourself, your health, your business and your life. So why is personal change so difficult?

Most improvement programs are essentially technical, which means the recommendations and programs can be completed without making profound emotional or psychological change. This does not mean, however, that technical change is easy.

Five steps to making a technical change:

1. Identify. Your goal could be improving your prospecting system, learning to play the piano or exercising on a regular basis.

2. Reflect. Take some quiet time to think about the requirements needed to make the change you want to make.

3. Commit. Make the decision to achieve your goal. Promise yourself you will do it.

4. Practice. Improving your prospecting activities, for example, might require learning a new prospecting system and using it on a regular basis.

5. Monitor. Adapt or adjust your behavior as needed. This is a critically important step, because what gets measured gets done.

Don’t think too much

The surprising key to success is sometimes not doing something. What should you not be doing? Constantly thinking about achieving your objective. If you engage in repeated decision making, your chance of success goes down.

Research indicates that people who successfully change do so by acquiring new habits and following them religiously. This is actually easier than constantly thinking about what you have to do to achieve your objective. Habits, by definition, are tasks you engage in without thinking, and that’s why they come more easily.

Helpful hints

When deciding a change, weigh the costs. Only after considering the costs should you make a conscious decision about whether to move forward. Then share your decision with at least one other person. Public accountability is a key factor to successfully making a change.

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