Benefits of Change

1986 David Bowie from the movie
Labyrinth wants you to get motivated. 
Are you motivated to get motivated?  I sure hope you are, because by the end of this Week of Motivation, you'll be so motivated to accomplish that one goal that has been torturing you, there will be no turning back.  If you really don't want to change your life, leave the intrawebs now.  You have been warned.

I'm about to say something that you don't want to hear, but if you come to terms with this fact, you'll be one step closer to understanding the secret state-of-mind that is critical to achieving tough, long-term goals.  Here it is: if you really wanted to change your behavior, you would have changed already.

Let me put this more gently: you are ambivalent about changing.  We've all been in this state. It is characterized by the "I want to, but..." type of thinking that tricks our own brain into thinking that it really is motivated when it isn't.  Our homunculi hear "I want to" and instantly assume that we're motivated.  But, the problem is the "but".  The things that come after the "but" are all the reasons we don't want to change: it's painful, it's hard, it's embarrassing, it's scary, etc.  The fact is, until we convince ourselves that the benefits of changes outweigh all the sacrifices after the "but", we're going to stick with the status-quo.

Today, we're going to outsmart our own ambivalence by ignoring all the negatives of changing.  We're going to consciously focus on all the incredible benefits that will come if we make a change in our life.  But, just as importantly, we're going to ignore all the negatives of change.  No "buts", dudes and dudettes.

Benefits of Change

Task: Pick something about your life you want to change and brainstorm as many benefits as possible that will come from making the change.

Info: Choose any goal that you have been putting off.  It can be anything: quitting smoking, exercising, stop procrastinating (my main problem), whatevs.  Write down a list of all the benefits you can think of that would come from making the change.  Make it your goal to convince yourself that this change is a no-brainer by the shear length of the list.

Goal: Try to create a list of at least 10 reasons why making a change will be super cool.  For each extra reason, you get one extra Metacognition Point.  I just made that up, Metacognition Points don't really exist.

If you're feeling social, post your list in the comments!

Author's note: the concept of ambivalence as being an obstacle to change is a central tenet of Motivational Interviewing.  Buy the book, it's awesome and you'll support The Happy Homunculus.


Vince said...

Goal: Stop Procrastinating

Top reasons why it will be good to stop procrastinating:
1. I'll graduate faster
2. I'll spend less time working and more time having fun.
3. I can spend less time in lab
4. I can spend more time relaxing while not worrying about work
5. I can have more time to try projects that are new and exciting
6. I'll boost confidence in my ability to self-regulate
7. I'll give myself more buffer time in case something goes wrong on a project
8. I'll have more time to get feedback on projects before they are due.
9. I can get a post-doc sooner and make more money!
10. I might publish more papers in the same amount of time!

Anna said...

Goal: Start taking action on what I know I have to do to move forward with my life.

Reasons I need to stop procrastinating:
1. I will restore my integrity by following through on the promises I have made to myself and others.
2. I will restore my self-worth and pride in my work.
3. I will begin to release my negative thoughts.
4. I will reduce my stress and self-deprecation.
5. I will free up the energy I spent on negative thoughts and actions and use that energy to create positive change in my life.
6. I will build new relationships and friendships.
7. I will take pressure off my loved ones.
8. I will begin to release my fears of both success and failure.
9. All of this will help me build more motivation for more change.
10. I will start to allow myself to enjoy my life, time, and relationships.

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