A Helpful Model of Positive Change

Every year in January and February, houses and offices reverberate to the sound of positive intentions: weight loss, wellbeing/exercise, hobbies and career change. Maybe you are having one of these conversations right now? While the first two months of the year have gained a reputation for being somewhat depressing, at Conversations With Impact unsurprisingly we take a different view. For us the New Year is a catalyst for change – and this can only be a good thing. For underneath the fun that is often had with New Years’ Resolutions can lie unhappy or unfulfilling lives that Resolutions seeks to remedy.

Removing the mystery

However, wanting to change is as we know only half the picture: we have to know how to change. Successful change, with or without professional support, requires what we call ‘a helpful model of positive change’. In our experience working with clients who have struggled to change, this is where they fall down. Instead of looking at problems in their approach to change, they either blame themselves or worse remain in a state of mystery as to why their goals remain on the drawing board.

An unhelpful model of change

An unhelpful model of change is characterised by problematic ways of thinking, behaving, feeling and relating (people, objects/things or places), which hinder attempts to achieve important goals. The easiest way to discover if you have an unhelpful model of change is if your goals are – still on the drawing board. If they are, then it will be important to know why. So, what does an unhelpful model of change look like or consist of? Below are some common characteristics of unhelpful models of change. See if you recognise any from the list:

  • Impatience and the need for a ‘quick fix’
  • Unrealistic goals and expectations
  • Low self-esteem/self-worth
  • Perfectionism, self-sabotage & self-criticism
  • A lack of knowledge, information and resources
  • Erroneous ideas
  • A lack of self-belief
  • Poor motivation
  • The right goal, but the wrong strategy
  • Not enough support or the wrong type of support
  • Difficult emotions such as fear, anxiety or depression

The chances are that you will have recognised something on the list.

A helpful model of positive change and how to get one

If there is one good thing about an unhelpful model of change is that it contains the blueprint for a helpful one. For example, looking at the above list we can say that a helpful model will include the following:

  • Acceptance of one’s current reality and a commitment to doing what it takes
  • Time and patience
  • Positivity – towards oneself and from others
  • Self-belief and trust in one’s abilities
  • Turning setbacks into opportunities
  • Useful ideas, a sound knowledge & effective resources
  • Skills – practice and repetition
  • Alignment of realistic goals with effective strategies
  • The right type of support and encouragement
  • Positive emotions that help rather than hinder
  • A resilient mindset

Appreciating the value contained in an unhelpful model of change can be the start of something positive even if seeing it requires honesty and acceptance. We know positive change isn’t easy, but time and again we have seen people achieve it when they arrange the above into their own helpful model of positive change.

Putting it to the test

Regardless of whether your helpful model of positive change results from a solo or joint effort, the key consideration then is – does it work? So, don’t be afraid to put it to the test. If it doesn’t work straightaway, then remember: it’s not because you can’t change, it is because you haven’t discovered how to – yet. Adding a ‘Yet’, sends the message that it is a matter of ‘when-not-if’ change happens for you. ‘When-not-if’ is a statement of intent and the language of certainty. And because it assumes change will happen, the principle initiates the very process of trial and error (detective work) that brings the change about.

Getting support to change

An unhelpful model of change can be easy to identify, but difficult to explain or replace. However, once someone knows how to change, it’s amazing to see what is possible. Effective coaching and therapy are just two of many approaches that can equip people with a helpful model of positive change. For more information and a free consultation, we’d love to hear from you.