Behavior Change Myths–Part 10, The difficulty of behavior change

As usual, my thoughts come from this presentation by Stanford University’s Persuasive Tech Lab.

Last one…. I’ll have to find a new series to do in the next few weeks. This series has provided some direction and structure to my blog recently, which I’ve enjoyed. But on to the myth!

This is a nice little best-for-last kind of myth. Behavior change is hard, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said exactly that as I’ve worked with people. As I’ve worked with myself.

I’m reminded of a favorite quote by Elder Holland:

[to paraphrase]… Repentance [or change in our discussion] is as simple as saying, “I’ll change” and meaning it.

The question at hand, it would seem, is sincerity. The real and admitted desire to be something different. Another quote I’ve thought long about was from a former stake president in my ward. He stated that, “to become Christ-like is to change.” He further went on to state that resisting growth is, by its very definition, anti-Christ. I have to agree. To assume that we are what we are simply because that’s what we are and we’ll never change is a denial of the power of the Atonement and the divine power inherent within us to become better. To become more. Simply saying, “because that’s the way I am” in response to a negative behavior or challenge is a cop out.

But that still doesn’t necessarily address the supposed simplicity of behavior change or, as I suggested earlier, that the real issue is sincerity. Through out this series, I’ve consistently said not to pay attention to those miracles of behavior change–the people who, through force of will, change themselves completely and immediately with as little as a thought. But now, I think we need to look at them. I think we need to consider what it is about them that gives them that ability.

Sincerity. Resolve. Determination. I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s simply a realistic faith and internal belief. Maybe it’s an idealistic faith and external belief.

Then again, maybe it’s all the things we’ve discussed previously: A ready support network, an environment that encourages them, small goals that provide immediate success, and all those other traits.

All I can say is that when I’ve truly wanted a behavior and set out to accomplish it using proper methods, I’ve done it. Every time. And when I haven’t, I’ve failed. Every time.

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One Response to Behavior Change Myths–Part 10, The difficulty of behavior change

  1. angeladecker says:

    “[R]esisting growth is, by its very definition, anti-Christ. . . . To assume that we are what we are simply because that’s what we are and we’ll never change is a denial of the power of the Atonement and the divine power inherent within us to become better. To become more. Simply saying, ‘because that’s the way I am’ in response to a negative behavior or challenge is a cop out.” I totally agree. I like to say that’s not the way you are – that’s just where you’re starting from. Which makes it all the more meaningful and empowering when you’ve been x months sober(/whatever term fits best for your situation).

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