Change – What Makes It Happen

I am obsessed – obsessed with finding ways to help myself and others accomplish what they seek when they come to our personal training program

Orange sky during sunrise

Change is not always easy but it is already happening – Photo by Mitchell Kearney

In that context, I  have been reading again (I think I always have 2-3 books I am reading at a time). This one I actually listened to.

The book is by Kelly McGonigol PhD, at Stanford University and the title is: The Neuroscience of Change a Compassion-Based Program for Personal Transformation.

Most of us plan to change something in our life or about us at some point. As our New Year’s Resolutions make painfully clear wanting to do something and actually making it happen are two different things.

So why do we fail?

There are many factors that lead to us not making our goals and not all are internal but some of the most crucial ones are. It seems like the way we approach ourselves when we misstep is one of those important factors. People who have a more self-critical approach do not reach their goals as often as people who have a more self-compassionate approach. This is explained by what happens in the brain when we criticize ourselves. Our brain pretty much says, enough of that. We don’t want that to happen again and actually inhibits action instead of promoting it.

In people who are more self compassionate the process is a little bit different. Here the person takes responsibility for their actions but they don’t necessarily criticize themselves. Their self talk is more similar to how we would talk to a friend,who is going through a rough time: caring, compassionate and supportive. The results are different. Instead of being discouraged these people are more willing to try again and eventually will succeed.

Concrete Things You can Do

I definitely recommend picking up this audio book (it only comes as an audio-version) if you are interested in learning more.

Here are some concrete things you can do:

  1. Practice mindfulness via meditation. This is important because it makes you aware to you being self-critical, and will allow you to approach it with compassion knowing that there is a human element to it since most people are self critical to some extend.
  2. This mindfulness allows you to practice self-compassion. If you have an issue that you are really critical about write yourself a letter that is addressed as if writing to a friend that seeks your help and support. You can even start talking to yourself whenever you experience the above mentioned self criticism and turn it into compassion.
  3. Look at what you want to change about yourself and try to find out what your deeper motivation is. For example: Why do you really want to lose weight, what is the deeper driving factor behind your goal.
  4. Commit to one small action step towards your goal. Make sure it is doable, use the one step that would come the easiest to you. Success builds on success and you can add steps a week or two weeks later, one at a time.
  5. Visualize your success. Visualize how it feels like, how you look like, how you perceive the world having had that success.
  6. Now visualize the things that will most likely succeed in derailing you. Be specific. Visualize the solutions to the problem.

These are just some small steps that you can take towards your change.

Have an inspiring day,



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