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Who Wants Behavior Change? Here's How!

Alan Andersen

On my wall hangs proof that I am a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst. I spend 90% of my time helping people discover and alter behaviors that are getting in the way of their own success and that of people they influence. I make a living observing and understanding human behavior and guess what? You can’t change behavior.

What you can change is your story, by understanding your motivators, which ultimately drive behavior. If you want to try to change any behavior without first addressing what drives your actions, lasting change won’t happen. There may be a season of performing the actions in the right way, but soon your true motivations override the “trying,” and the old learned behaviors sneak back in.

Without proper motivation and changed belief systems, long-term behavioral change is nearly impossible. Fortunately, the opposite is true as well: When you have meaningful, desirable motivations, change is definitely possible. True change happens when you correctly align your internal motivators, values, and beliefs to initiate and drive the daily actions and behaviors. In fact, I would go so far to say as people are transformed when they change their beliefs!

Tools To Change

That’s one reason I use an online behavior assessment to help people understand their innate style and propensities. However, I always use it in conjunction with a motivator assessment as well. With the combination of the two, you learn so much about what motivates you and how to change your reality to match up with the vision you have for your life.

Here are a few free tips on understanding and changing your motivators.

Change Your Story: Ignite Your Motivators

When I work with clients or a leadership team, I often talk about “changing your story.” We all have an internal dialogue or story playing in our heads all day, every day. It consists of your beliefs, motivations, thoughts, and opinions—which manifest as the filter through which you sift all information. Whenever we want to change our behavior or our feelings, we must start by changing our story.

Last year I was working with a leadership team in a company that was losing money, running inefficient meetings, and knowing they could not continue in this stressed-out, dysfunctional state one day longer. They each had their own story and it was time to get it out on the table for all to hear. All team members agreed to be open to do the work to gain the much-needed alignment by engaging in healthy conflict.

For two long days, we went deep to expose broken trust, resolve toxic conflict, and improve communication. It was intense, but the team walked out committed to new behavioral norms and guidelines to build trust back into the culture. The results were immediate, as everyone left refreshed and committed to change. It was all “Kumbaya” and “Hakuna Matata” for the next few months.

However, as time went by, what we found is that only those who did the internal work were truly transformed.

It takes focus, courage, and effort to live in the new story and norms were tested. The ones that continued in their coaching process until the shift was fully ingrained truly challenged and changed their behavior. Sadly, others on the team just went through the motions and accepted the information in their head just to get that relief from the pressure. But they never let it alter their beliefs. What causes this? Typically, the fear of facing our story. When we don’t, we can just blame others and life for lack of change. As a result, our behaviors change for a season, but not for a lifetime.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We can all change, but it takes a consistent challenging of our story. Like my client, Allie, who was transformed as she challenged her story. She continually encouraged her team to stick to their core value and “insist on integrity ”as they had all agreed.

Another senior executive, Bob, sadly was unwilling to address his own blind spots and engage in his real areas for growth. While the team progressed with their commitments, he was left behind grumbling and complaining, holding the team back from their highest potential. Unfortunately, his lack of courage to address his own issues made the whole team play at a lower level,which, sad for Bob but gladly for the company, they were unwilling to do.
Are you willing to do the work for lasting change?

How to Change Your Story

1. Find it – Get in touch with what you are saying in your head. What is the internal dialogue you have going on? We all talk to ourselves all day long – what are you saying to you?

2. Listen to it – Listen to your story. Do you like it? Is it really what you want to be listening to all day long?

3. Challenge it – If you don’t like what you hear, think about whether your story is accurate. Challenge it by asking others to hear your story and see if it aligns with what they know are your values and the vision of the man/woman you want to be.

4. Share it – Telling your story is one of the most effective communication tools available. Who can you confide in?

5. Compare it – Ask others to share their story. Investigate the similarities and where you have incomplete information. It is essential to stay humble and curious as you listen. Be open to changing your story with the new info.

6. Start a new story – Now that you’ve figured out what’s wrong with your old story, think about what you want your new story to be. It might be helpful to start by thinking about the person you want to be every day. What’s the kind of story that person would listen to? Scrap your old story and start with this new one.

Start Your Change Now

So, are you ready for a new story? If you are ready to start changing or assessing your motivations – and, subsequently, your behaviors – I would love to help by giving you a personalized behavior and motivational assessment. With the combination of the two, you will learn so much about your story, what motivates you, and how to change your reality to match up with the vision you have for your life.

Looking forward to helping you change!

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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