Three ways to make that change you always talk about

Welcome to part three of the SOCK theory – a tool for change. The success of this tool relies on completing all of the steps. So if you missed any, start here first.

I know this can be a difficult journey, but please stay with us.

So far we have discussed the need to change, the need to own it, to no longer blame anything or anyone for our lack of change. So now we encounter the third hurdle, the action of Change. The Nike mantra is appropriate here – JUST DO IT.

Change versus procrastination

Honestly, I think this is the easiest step if you have the other three covered, and I’m sure you have managed to do it before, maybe many times. However, there are at least three reasons why you might be finding it hard to hit the change switch, to;

Throw the cigarettes in the bin
Stop eating when full
Go to the gym
Not shout at your wife
Role model expected behaviours to the team
Focus on the task at hand instead of constantly checking emails

1. The endless postpone

“I’ll do it when….”
“I’ll get around to it”
“I’ll just … first”
“It’s just around the corner”

The number of times I’ve heard that last one convinces me there is a lot of round buildings in our world. The corner never comes.

I’m focussing on eating well, but there will never be an end to the dinners and trips. So I must be willing to take control of the situation. Or, there will always be one more test, or stressful week at work, or sleepless week with the kids. Smokers avoid change by saying things like ‘Yes, I know I need to quit, but I am busy now and I’ll get around to it sometime’ or ‘Yes, I will quit but I will keep a packet of cigarettes in my pocket or glovebox just in case’.

To make that change we always talk about, we need to stop hitting the snooze button. Decide that today is the day, and JUST DO IT.

2. Just not wanting it badly enough

You can see it’s your responsibility, but you might like it too much. You just don’t want to do it.

M. Scott Peck wrote the popular book “The Road Less Travelled” and worked with thousands of people as a psychologist. He would discuss strategies with patients for changing a behaviour. Patients would come back and say why they hadn’t done it. Eventually he realised, “They just didn’t want it badly enough”.

“They just didn’t want it badly enough”.

We need the willingness to critically self-examine. “The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior” – M Scott Peck. Are you willing to “pay the price” of the benefit. You have to be willing to put up with withdrawals, hunger, meditating etc.

Maybe try and picture what it would look like if you achieved it – and decide whether you want that picture enough. You have to want it more than any barrier and anticipate the stumbling blocks.

Look at what behaviour you are compensating for, decide it’s worth the price – and JUST DO IT.

3. A lack of support

The people and places we spend our time will affect our ability to change, as well as our own willingness to have support.

Do you ever find yourself talked out of a change situation because the people around you aren’t encouraging you in your desire to change. Do they encourage you to have one more glass, one more serve, one more cigarette – ‘go on, another piece of chocolate won’t hurt?’

Alternatively, do you have a willingness to take the support when it’s offered. I once asked a friend after we found out about his struggles with depression, something he had told no one about, “Would you have told me what was going on if I had asked at the time, when I suspected something?”. He thought about it and said “No, probably not. You are someone whom I know cares about me, but I just couldn’t overcome my natural reluctance”. Our community is there to support us, so maybe try to reach out to them more in times of need. That sounds so easy to say but hard to do. But it works. For example a critical part of any addiction program is the sponsorship network. They have worked out the essential value of support. Create your own and call on them.

1. Write down the what function your bad behaviour is serving.
2. Write your strategy
3. Write your commitment put them into action
4. Share that commitment with a friend.

To avoid forgetting when the moment comes, try creating a trigger that keeps it front and centre in your mind. e.g. an elastic band on your wrist that you flick, a jar of paper clips so that you can move a clip across for each time you do a set number of an activity, a mantra that you speak before you walk out the door, a reminder on your phone [the latter is what I have found most helpful].

We all have something we wish we could change – if you know someone that would benefit from this, please forward it on or share on social media

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Check next month for the final step

Already in the series on SOCK theory:

image SOCK part 1 see itimage SOCK own it
image SOCK Changeimage SOCK intro

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