Behavioral Psychology

Make a Desired Life Change Today

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Gripped by Powerful Inertia

Most of us are fully aware of the life changes we need to make to be healthier, happier, more productive people yet we’re gripped by powerful, hard to describe inertia that keeps us stuck in the same old patterns of behavior.

Map Out the Necessary Behaviors for Change

We could get into the deeper unconscious psychological reasons why that inertia blocks our path but from a behavioral standpoint a practical and powerful factor that keeps the inertia in place is simply that the myriad concrete behaviors necessary for any significant life change haven’t been clearly mapped out.

Desired life change remains ephemeral, unclear, more like a foggy idea than a 360 degree strategy. ‘I should exercise more’ ‘I should eat healthier’ ‘I should be more compassionate’ ‘I should follow my dreams’. These are all nice sentiments but what do they actually entail? What types of behaviors need to be enacted, when and how do they need to be enacted, for how long do they have to be enacted? What needs to change in the internal and external environment to allow them to be enacted?

People Who Do Find Success in Their Endeavors

Most people who find success in their endeavors don’t just go willy nilly into them or fall ass backwards into that success. They have a clearly laid out plan of attack and constantly adjust the plan of attack to account for faulty premises and changing circumstances. They put a lot of time not just into action but into planning. The quality of any life change can only be as good as the detailed plan that supports it.

Map Out the Ambivalence

So if you want to make a desired life change today do it! But in order to do it first work through your ambivalence. Make an informal ‘balance sheet’ with the ‘assets’ on one side, or the positive things that will result from your change, and the ‘liabilities’ on the other side, or the negative things that will result from your change. Assuming you work through your ambivalence and decide the life change is worth the tradeoff it’s time to start planning. Be as specific as possible. What are all the things you actually need to do, all the behaviors you need to enact, in order to make the change come about. Internal states like positive sentiment, feeling motivated, wanting it really bad, are all well and good but they’ve got to be translated into palpable actions or they’re worthless, they remain nothing but potential energy.

Working through ambivalence and coming up with a concrete plan of attack are two absolutely vital steps in any life change and shouldn’t be considered separate from the action of bringing that life change into being. If you want to cut through your powerful inertia do it not by jumping right into action but by smoothing out your ambivalence and then coming up with a detailed plan. Once the plan is in place the next step, the action phase, will be clear and obvious rather than ephemeral.