Getting to implementation island

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island Getting to implementation islandLast week we discussed the importance of awareness, and the three stages of awareness (ignorance, other-centered awareness, and self-awareness) you need to go through before you can begin to implement a change.  So why is it so hard to get from thinking about a change to actually making a change?  Well, it is because awareness and implementation are separate entities.

Imagine you have been trekking over land, only to come to the coast and see that the next island over is where you really need to be!  We need to build a bridge between the land masses!

Ever made a New Year’s resolution and not been able to keep it? Ever thought to yourself that you would quit smoking, next week? Or start your diet, tomorrow?

Let’s assume that most people can get through the awareness continuum and really understand the change they want to make. The failure of implementation occurs, not due to a lack of awareness, but due to poor connection between the awareness (snap! I need to take better care of myself!) and implementation (now what would better care of myself actually look like?).

To build that bridge between awareness island and implementation island, we need a solid plan. When making a real, lasting change, it is important to know why you are doing it, what benefit you are striving for, when you are going to start, where in the process are you going to break the cycle and who you will make it public to.

Lots of the folks who come to me want to give up a destructive habit. They will come in being incredibly self critical, or feel anxious, or not manage their anger, or doing things like smoking, over-eating, compulsively shopping, communicating poorly, and taking poor care of themselves (the list could go on and on with how we can be hard on ourselves).  Regardless of the problematic habit, we will start by really examining how the habit is serving the person, and in what ways it isn’t working. Then we will make a plan to identify the why, what, when, where and who of implementing different behavior.

The plan IS the bridge.

Then we get started. We have to start the change to be able to test out our plan.  Then we assess, when did it work? When did the old behavior sneak back in? How is our bridge working? We will make adjustments accordingly. Finally, the change needs to be repeated about 21 times/days in a row to make it really stick.

What change could you make in your life by applying this notion of using a plan to create a bridge between awareness and implementation?

Thanks for reading ~ Dr. Carrie

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