The six-step change model works for both work and personal life and is direct, straightforward and results-oriented:
Step One: Gather Data
First, you need self-cooperation and commitment. Start by exploring the problem to figure out what is happening. Donít accept your diagnosis or view of the problem.
Step Two: Study the Data and Develop an Understanding of the Problem
Identify the facts (not your interpretation) Ė just the facts, as if you were looking at a video.
Step Three: Develop a Plan
Study the various lists of flawed thinking patterns and identify which one/s you may be using in this situation:
Treating your thoughts (my boss hates me; my spouse is probably unfaithful) as if they were uttered by an external person whose mission is to make your life miserable and then marshall evidence against the thoughts.Avoid blame, use humor and self-congratulation.
Step Four: Dispute your Problem Thinking
Actively and relentlessly dispute your flawed thinking patterns.
Step Five: Replace Problem Thinking with New Thinking
Develop new thinking to replace the old. This new thinking must meet several criteria:
Step Six: Reinforce and Sustain New Thinking
Reward and support them in your daily work and personal life. Behavior and thinking changes are usually uncomfortable at first. It may be useful at this stage to enlist the active involvement of others, especially if others are to benefit from it. The old ways of thinking are likely to be resilient and can easily bounce back before new thinking is solidly entrenched.
At its best, this approach can work wonders in a short period of time. Some people can rapidly learn to notice and label their thinking and then change it to great benefit, especially when motivated. Most people can learn this technique with relative ease and can implement significant changes that are sustainable, provided someone consistently reminds and reinforces these changes over a period of several months.
Even so, humans tend to slip back into old patterns and its helps to have reinforcement available for extended periods of time. This can include simple reminders like small signs around the office, a note posted on the fridge, or a regular journal with a commitment to long-term change. If you are making work-related changes, it is useful to recruit team members and co-workers to help with the process, if this would not embarrass you.
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