Last week we looked at some of the neurobiology of change and motivation. For a refresher, visit the blog.

But in the long run, motivation is about understanding and changing what’s not working. So understanding a bit about change and motivation give you a leg up on this.

Five Stages of Change

  • Precontemplation There’s a problem
  • Contemplation There might be a problem; maybe I might do something about it.
  • Preparation There is a problem, I’m thinking about what to do about it.
  • Action I’m ready and doing something about the problem
  • Maintenance–I”m maintaining the solution.

If you haven’t really decided you want to change you won’t! You might temporarily out of fear or because of external motivators (boss or family members might drive some motivation to change to keep them happy!)

We all want to jump in at either preparation or action. But using a ruler system, evaluate:

  • Are you willing to change and
  • What is your confidence in your ability to make the change.

These both factor into your motivation!

Change Rulers

What are Change Rulers? Change rulers are self-assessment scales that measure individuals’ readiness for change in a specific area of their life. They provide a visual representation of where we currently stand on a continuum of readiness, helping us gauge our motivation and willingness to take action.

  1. Assessing Motivation: Change rulers typically comprise a numerical scale, often ranging from 0 to 10, with certain descriptors at different points along the continuum. These descriptors can represent various stages of readiness, such as “Not Ready,” “Considering Change,” “Ready,” or “Taking Action.” By rating ourselves on the scale, we can identify our current motivation level and determine the appropriate next steps.
  2. Tailoring Strategies: Using change rulers allows us to tailor strategies and interventions based on our readiness level. For instance, if we find ourselves on the lower end of the scale, showing a lower readiness for change, we might focus on building awareness, exploring potential benefits, and addressing any barriers or concerns that impede progress. If we rate higher on the scale, indicating a greater readiness for change, we can prioritize action-oriented strategies and implementation plans. So, how do you tell the difference between wiliness and belief in success? Differentiating the two: My extreme allergies & foods I avoid. I would love to eat eggs, shrimp, and tree nuts! (desire) But, I’ve always been told I might have an allergic reaction and die. (ability.) I can’t change my immune system and have no interest in being in the hospital. My certainty around my ability to change these outcomes is about null. My desire to change is high (not being on guard when I go out to eat, and easier eating while traveling in foreign countries are just two benefits I’d gain), but my ability is low. I’m more likely to be successful starting a weight training program. I like the thought of having more muscle (desire) it will help me do some athletic stuff more easily (outcome). I have been successful in weightlifting before (albeit in high school) and feel confident that I can be successful again. This is a goal or change that has much higher odds of succeeding because it has high desire and high belief in me doing it.
  3. Seeking Support: If you find yourself struggling to increase your readiness for change, seeking support from professionals such as coaches, therapists, or support groups can be beneficial. These professionals can guide folks through the process, provide additional tools and techniques, and offer encouragement.

Remember, readiness for change is not static and can vary depending on the context and circumstances of our lives. Change Rulers provide a framework for self-reflection to make informed decisions about fitting steps to take toward sustainable change.

Change is multi-faceted. Find something you believe you can and want to do! This is part of where breaking it down to make it easier helps with motivation and belief.

To your success,



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