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The Problem with Problems
Focus on what’s broken, and you’ll come up with a long list of things that need to be fixed. In reality, you can’t always fix everything. Sometimes there’s simply no time, budget or realistic deadline for a major overhaul.
Some things may never be completely fixed, and you’ll have to tolerate them – but this doesn’t exclude picking one key behavioral change that can vastly improve both short- and long-term results.
Marcus Buckingham, author of Go Find Your Strengths, urges readers to make the most of their strengths, rather than obsessing over their weaknesses. Despite our natural human tendency to focus on the negative, we can make an effort to override it.
Follow Your Bright Spots
Start by identifying what is working, and do more of it. Clone the behaviors that get optimum results, and set new goals that continue to up the ante.
Many people believe change is hard and must be complicated. Psychotherapy, as originally designed, involved three to five weekly sessions, during which people discussed their thoughts over several years. But people rarely made behavioral changes; they just began to understand why they behaved in certain ways.
More recently, through techniques like Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, people are defining their key strengths, identifying what’s working and following action plans.
By doing more of the little things that work, they create better relationships and successful behavioral changes. When you ask, “What’s working, and how can you do more of it?”you enjoy better results in less time.
Start with the Beginning in Mind
Perhaps the famous Stephen Covey maxim, “Begin with the end in mind,” needs to be revised: Start with the beginning and the end in mind.
Both are important. Without a destination goal, it’s harder to stay motivated and on track.
In researching their classic business book Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras discovered that solid companies with sustained success had BHAGs: big, hairy, audacious goals.
Goals need to be specific and evoke emotions. Use both your rational and emotional brain when setting goals so they make sense and connect to strong desires.
- Identify which behaviors work better than others.
- Investigate and then clone successes.
- Start with a small change, and make it specific.
- Give yourself direction by providing your start and finish.
- Energize yourself by identifying the feelings of the finish.
- Cultivate a sense of identity that reflects your new growth.
- Change your situation; tweak your environment, as needed.
- Build habits. When something works, repeat it.
- Get support. Behavior is contagious, so help it spread.