Sunday, March 17, 2013

Change Anything

In my last post, I talked about focus. Well, this post is all about our means of directing your focus. The best part? The same methods used against you to alter your focus to immediate gratification may be used to direct your attention towards the ultimate goal you truly want to attain in your life.

I actually discovered them in the book entitled Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.

According to this book, there are six sources of motivation (which I believe is more about focus than anything) and they are: personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation, and structural ability.

What do these mean? Well, I'll walk you through them one by one, and tell you how I'm using each one of these motivating factors in my life.

The first is personal motivation. You have to connect with the overall goal in your crucial moments (that is, when you're about to give into temptation) and focus on what you want for your future rather than what you want right now. I implement this motivating factor with abstract thinking. I keep my goal and ultimate desire (to be a healthy, happy, and successful writer someday) in the forefront of my mind as much as I possibly can. Then, it's easy to pull up to the front of my mind when I want to remember not to be tempted.

I also make it more specific. I want to be a prolific, self-employed writer who doesn't have to rely on secular work to pay the bills. I want to be self-sufficient, always learning, and have finished my main project's books by the age of 30. Keeping this vision vivid gives me more to draw from when I'm tempted to stray.

The second is personal ability. This refers to the skills you need to tackle the task at hand. Chances are your life before now hasn't prepared you for the new life you wish to take on (mine certainly hasn't). So, you must learn new skills to pull from and use to reach your goal.

I'm learning all kinds of new skills to help me with my goals. Exercise, meditation, organization, budgeting. The list goes on and on. The important factor is that you learn them so that you have a bigger chance of success at whatever you're working towards.

The third is social motivation. We are who we hang out with. Our mothers told us this when we were kids, but we refused to believe her. But it's true! What you see as the norm (as in, who you associate with) is what you view as the desired goal for yourself. So, if you hang out with people who complain a lot, you'll find that you do, too.

You'll also find the reverse is true. If you're around positive, peppy people, you'll feel more positive and happy.

The fourth is social ability. This means that change is a difficult thing to do on one's own. Humans are social animals and we like to do things in a group. If you have support, encouragement, and guidance from those around you, you're far more likely to succeed.

I'm implementing the third and the fourth of these motivators by talking with my existing friends about my changes and starting this blog in hopes of meeting those with similar goals.

The fifth is structural motivation. If you link short-term rewards and punishments to your changes, you'll be far more likely to succeed. I implemented this by allowing myself to get that game I've been wanting only after I had kept to my routine for half a month. I also don't allow myself to eat out at a higher priced restaurant until I've managed to keep below budget the rest of the week.

The sixth and final motivator on the list is structural ability. This has more to do with your environment. What are the things in your life influencing you to do? If you have a tv at the center of your room with all the surrounding materials based upon it, you're not going to get much else but watching tv done. However, studies have shown that the closer your treadmill is to your television set, the more exercising you'll get done.

I implemented this motivator by organizing my room and, most importantly, straightening my desk so that my writing has plenty of space to be laid out there. It makes it much more inviting and tempting to sit down and get to work. I also cleared out my floor so that I had plenty of room to work out there.

If you'd like to see the scientific studies the researchers did that lead them to these conclusions, check out this book at or your local library.

Daily Stats:


  1. Exercised, stretched, meditated, and worked on my writing twice today.
  2. Wrote in my journal and did NOT stay on budget again today.
  3. Posted on my blog.
  4.  Picked up in my room a little.

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