Finally Achieve Your Goals with the 6 A's of Change.

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  • 01 Apr 2024
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Many of us establish personal goals at the start of each new year. Some of us set precise objectives, such as losing a certain amount of weight by a given date or reducing the number of carbonated beverages we consume. 

Others choose more generic, less specific goals, such as becoming more organized, healthier, or better managing their time.

Whatever your goals or New Year's resolutions are, there appears to be a presumption that we will fail to keep them by the end of the year. The majority of the changes we want to make are beneficial habits that we want to embrace and develop in our daily lives. Your belief that these goals are unattainable may be affecting your ability to make a change.

Our difficulty is that we tend to focus on the barriers that may be placed in our path that can prohibit or impede our goal attainment rather than the actual process of achieving those resolutions. Some models, such as the Stages of Change Model (also known as the Transtheoretical Model), are excellent guides for understanding our levels of change. 

So, how do we make sure we achieve our objectives and resolutions before another ball drops (literally and figuratively)? 

With The Six A's of Change!


1. Awareness

As the old saying goes, the first step toward change is admitting that change is required. Being conscious and accepting that change is required is the first step toward achieving a goal. Recognizing the need for change requires strength. Believe it or not, some people do not recognize when change is required. This shift can be external, while others may be internal. It actually takes a sense of attention to recognize that change is necessary. Mindfulness practice can help you become more aware of the needs in your life. If you're at this point, give yourself a pat on the back! You're one step closer to your objective.


2. Assessment

If there is something in your life that you want to change permanently, it may be good to try to understand its root. 

For example, suppose you want to change a certain habit. Assessing the root cause of the behavior can help you achieve your goals. Establishing an origin can be difficult or impossible at times, which is fine, but it never hurts to try.

The trick is to try to determine the origin. Sometimes the root of the problem, or not recognizing the root, can stymie growth or progress toward goal achievement. In therapeutic treatment, this is referred to as a psychodynamic approach. If you are able to identify an origin or contributor to behavior, it is critical not to use this as an excuse, but rather to gain a better understanding of where that behavior comes from so you may begin to work on addressing the behavior and the origin to achieve long-term benefits. 

Another aspect of the assessment stage is to comprehend and evaluate your why! Why do you want or need this change? Determining your why will help you stay motivated towards change.


3. Accountability

Maintain accountability! Writing out your resolutions and goals can help you stay accountable to them. Write your goals down somewhere you'll see them every day. I like to carry a notebook with categories for my goals. My goals include financial, personal, and business-related goals. Each month, I reassess my goals to ensure that the goals I set in January of a new year do not carry over into subsequent months, or worse, years! 

Another approach to hold yourself accountable is to inform someone. If you do not tell your close friends and family about your ambitions, they will be unable to hold you accountable. Having a supportive environment is beneficial while seeking to make a change.


4. Activation

In the activation step, you take action. Take quantifiable steps towards change. 

For example, your New Year's resolve could be to "be more organized in the mornings." Some action measures you may take include going to bed earlier, making your bed in the morning, and planning and preparing meals or clothing before bed. 

The activation phase should feel like homework. This is a cognitive behavioral method in which you take or activate quantifiable steps toward transformation. These are all measurable action actions that you may do to develop adequate habit modification, which will eventually help you achieve your goals.


5. Analyze

After you've established measurable goals, the following step is to examine. Is everything in your activation stage helping you achieve your ultimate goal: "to be more organized in the mornings"?

If you ask any business owner or entrepreneur, analyzing results and outcome measurements is critical to success. It will be impossible to establish whether adequate change has occurred if analytics are not assessed within the context of your own goals. Ask yourself if there are any further measures that need to be taken in order to actually achieve transformation. Am I being held accountable? Could I do more?


6. Attain

Finally, achieve! Ensure that you have not only obtained the essential activation stages, but also that you have effectively completed your first goal. If you need to go back to step 5, that's fine. In this step, you have made sufficient progress and are confident that you have met your goal(s). 

So there you have it, the six A's of change: awareness, assessment, accountability, activation, analysis, and attainment! Do not be terrified of change! The concept of change frequently carries a negative connotation. However, change is the only thing in this world that is constant. Let's make 2017 the year we keep our New Year's resolutions. Always remember that “Change begins in your mind.”


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