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Is motivation enough for change?

"My client keeps saying that he wants to change. But he keeps going back to his old routines. Why is he self-sabotaging?" Therapists often see this problem - they find a person really motivated to change their lives but are not willing to change.

Often we misconstrue our "wants" with our willingness. Just because I want an outcome does not mean I am willing to change the things that break the status quo.

Lack of willingness is not necessarily a conscious state and is bred based on our past experiences and trauma. Being terrified, being rigid and other factors that drive our current behaviour are part of "lack of willingness".

While our wants are based on a desire for a specific state of things, willingness requires us to be aware of different underlying elements that contribute to the current state of things and the ability to let go of some for the desired outcome.

In fact, in a study, therapists have seen the outcomes improve multiple folds when they focus on the willingness to change first before getting clients into the process of change.

So next time you want to change yourself ask

1. What do I want to change?

2. What aspects of my life and mind contribute to the current state?

3. What’s stopping me from changing these aspects of my life?

The idea is not to find answers, at least not at the beginning. Most of our psychological frameworks are beneath the surface and such questions are intended to generate curiosity about our state of mind.


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