Small Steps for Big Changes – 10 Common Mistakes

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-by Matt Leedham

Nearing the end of February, it is quite common to see the waning efforts of once excited and motivated people that had set big goals in January. What I have come to learn, both through personal experience and further research and study, is that we are not mentally strong enough to rely solely on willpower to make lasting behavioral change.

My suspicions were confirmed this morning as I stumbled across Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab. Through the science of Captology (Computers as Persuasive Technology), these guys study the influence that technology has on our lives. It’s quite fascinating stuff if you want to dig around to understand things like the Psychology of Facebook.

But what I found really interesting is this concise slideshow that shows us the 10 most common mistakes people make when trying to address behavioral change in the form of goal setting.

Quick Summary
Will power is hard to sustain. Rather, set yourself up with simple processes to rack up small wins. Recognize that the people, and things, and places you surround yourself with will affect your behavior. Focus on action, not avoidance, and make the changed behavior as easy as possible to do. Unfortunately, information isn’t enough to elicit action – we need triggers to set us in motion. Create SMART goals and actions. Being vague will result in your inaction.

And my personal favorite…

Don’t assume that behavior change is difficult. If you can identify the right process, and put yourself in the right environment, you can make lasting, positive change in your life.

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