Have you ever started out wanting to change something about yourself or about your life but found that it’s not so easy?
Maybe you wanted to alter your lifestyle, your relationships, your career, or something more trivial like your bedtime but somehow you never get around to making the leap?
Or perhaps you’ve started making changes but now you’re struggling to maintain them or have given up altogether?
Why can it be so flipping hard to find that motivation we need to effect lasting change?
It’s not always the case is it?
Have you found that some changes are easier to make than others?
The Formula for Change is one way of explaining this paradox. Otherwise known as Gleicher’s Formula, this provides a model to help us understand our readiness for change.
Gleicher’s Formula proposes that the combination of dissatisfaction (D) with the present added to our vision for the future (V) and the ease of first steps (FS) needs to be stronger than our resistance to change (R).
How does knowing this help us?
OK, well let’s translate these terms into everyday language.
What’s meant by Dissatisfaction? The D in the equation represents our “why” for doing something. Most people need a “move away from” motivation to start their change process and, the stronger we make this, the more likely we are to get the ball rolling. The more pain a situation causes us, financially, physically, mentally, or emotionally, the greater our need for doing something different.
Knowing this means that we can look at why we want to change and get super clear about how our present situation is impacting us and stopping us from moving forward into our desired future.
Which brings us onto the V for Vision or, what our best future could look like if we made the necessary changes. This is our “move towards” motivation and is absolutely crucial for sustaining change because “move away from” motivation only works in the initial stages of personal evolution.
You know this is true because, when we start to make changes, things start to improve for us a little bit which means that the pain of our old situation gets weaker therefore our “move away from” motivation also gets weaker. This is where the V comes in. The brighter, louder, and more compelling we can make our new future seem, the better we’ll be able to sustain change for the long term.
Once we have identified the pain and pleasure points, we then need to identify some first steps (FS) that seem simple and achievable so that change feels easy to us. For instance, if you want to start getting up earlier to get a training session in before the workday starts, the first step might be to set the alarm for 30 minutes earlier. If eating more healthily is important to you, perhaps you can start by making a menu and shopping list for the week ahead. I’m sure you get the idea!
On the other side of the Gleicher equation, we find the pesky fly in the ointment called Resistance. This is where we put obstacles to change in the way whether because we’re scared to step out of our comfort zone, as a result of change seeming too difficult or because the right support isn’t immediately apparent. Understanding this allows us to get clear about how our brand of resistance shows up and means that we can choose to reduce or remove any blocks and weaken the R side of the formula.
What do you want to change just now and what does your equation look like? Try rating yourself out of 10 for each of the elements and aim to tip the balance in favour of the motivation side and away from the resistance side.