information and support from people. Be real clear about your reasons
for changing. Remember, consider carefully the reasons for not
changing because if you don't become convinced that changing is the
right thing to do, you are likely to slip back to your old habit when the
going gets rough. Hopefully, you can move to the next steps well
motivated. More information about self-motivation is available in
chapter 14 and in Prochaska, Norcross & DiClemente (1994).
Set Realistic Goals
Goals guide our lives. Don't be goalless
When setting goals, you should consider: (1) what do I need to
give up or reduce or eliminate (consider each part of the problem)? (2)
What do I need to increase or substitute for the unwanted behavior or
feeling or thought? (3) What change should be given priority and done
first? (4) What are reasonable daily sub-goals and long term goals,
and are they consistent with each other? (5) How fast should the
changes be made (cold turkey vs. gradual change)? (6) Most
importantly, are my goals in this project in keeping with my basic
values? Let's look at these questions more closely.
Setting goals is near the beginning of a self-change process; it is
not even close to being the end result. However, in our culture or, at
least, in my classes, it seems as though many people assume they
have solved a problem just as soon as they have stated an admirable
goal for themselves or someone else. Examples: A person feeling over-
weight says, "I'm going to lose 10 pounds" but develops no specific
plan. A friend says to an unassertive co-worker, "You shouldn't let
them walk all over you, be assertive." Never mind the details of how to
get from where you are (scared and passive) to where you want to be
(strong and assertive)! Don't make that mistake. The next two steps,
5 and 6, help you figure out how to get where you want to go. But,
sometimes, just deciding where you want to go is not simple, as we'll
Realistic, effective goals must be attainable, important, and taken
seriously. Being goalless is a serious problem. Goals serve us well.
They focus our energy, reduce distractions, get us looking for new
solutions, keep us striving, and give meaning to our existence (Locke,
keep up your motivation, and review your progress.
Demanding-but-reachable specific goals motivate us more than a
vague "do your best" or too easy goals, resulting in better plans and
more effort. For example, when exercising, the goal "to do your best"