Can People Change Their Behaviors?

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 Can People Change Their Behaviors?

Many of my coaching conversations involve discussions about employees, and whether or not they can change. Can they become the ideal employee we want and need them to be?  We discuss giving them feedback and creating development plans.  Sadly, most times the employee doesn’t change and ends up leaving or being fired.  We then say to each other …..  “I guess people don’t change.”

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this topic and reading books on this subject.  So, here’s the thing:  You can’t change people. Change must come from within, and it takes work.  People can change, but only if they have a strong desire to do so and put in the work necessary to change. You see, the person we have become has taken years to develop.  We have deep neuro pathways that drive our thoughts, feeling and behaviors. We need to carve new patterns of thinking and behaviors.

Since you can’t change other people, you must start with yourself.  What behaviors or self-limiting beliefs are holding you back?   What do you say when you talk to yourself?  Do you have a lot of negative self-talk?  It’s time to change that conversation.  It’s time to be the boss of your own mind.

To get started, identify your negative thoughts, bad habits and behaviors. Consider doing this in a journal format.  When you write it down, it becomes real. Next, write the impact of each of these negative thoughts, actions and behaviors.  Okay… now it’s time to change.  In the third column, write out a positive affirmation, the statement that is the new you, the polar opposite to your negative behavior or thought.   It must be said in the present, as if it’s already occurring.  The fourth column is your journal to report on how you’re doing. Say these affirmations out loud every day.  Negative thoughts and positive thoughts can’t share the same brain space.  To get rid of the negative thoughts, you must substitute them with positive ones!

Example:

Negative Thought:  “I can’t find good employees. Talented people won’t want to work for a contractor.”

Impact: Never hitting your revenue goals and never growing a team.

Positive Affirmation:  “I’m recruiting all the time. Our company is an awesome place to work and I communicate that broadly and often.  Potential employees are excited to hear about our vision, values and career development opportunities. We attract talent!”

 

So, if you have an employee you want to change, get real with them and the situation.  Put them through the change drill I described.  Be clear on the behaviors that must change.  Be crystal clear on what positive change looks like.  Have them write out the affirmation.  Do they want that change?

 

Some books I recommend:

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod- Good primer on the subject

 

Definitely go back and read:  What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter

 

To get a little more scientific, try: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, by Lawrence Wallace. 

This book is meant for people with more serious issues (e.g depression or addiction), but it will help anyone remove negative thoughts from their mind.

 

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a good book on affirmations as well. 

 

I'm reading more and will keep you informed on more good reads as the come!

 

Remember, change your thinking and change your life!

Wishing you all the best,

Brian Nolan

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