Motivating yourself – how ‘coherence’ helps

You want to change. Start something new, but are wavering, not sure whether to take the risk and do it. A simple technique to influence yourself is to do with ‘coherence’. That is we desire that what we say and what we do match.

For the last couple of years, I have run a one day session for social entrepreneurs looking at launching their ideas. I meet people with huge passion on how to change the world, and some have planned to do this for years, and years, and years. One wanted to create a community café in their local area with events to rebuild community. Another wanted to start a new training programme around social change. For all, taking the first step was hard.

A really simple step is to tell people and give them a date. Now you have to live up to your promises. 

For example one woman was fed up with being in the rat race, of trudging to her desk in the city each day, and going home. For her a decade had gone by and nothing had changed. So she set a date when she was going to hand in her notice, told her close friends, and then went around making it happen. She had an urgency to prepare to leave, and have another job in place. In fact, the date, really could be movable. What mattered, is that she felt obliged to live up to her personal promise to others. It was part of the belief she had in herself – to be true to her word.

A 3 month promise is close enough to have action. A 12 month or 5 year promise allows too much delay.

So what do you want to change now? Why not tell your friends that you will have done this by 3 months time. Or you might have a launch celebration, and book the date. You don’t have to have completed the change – just got a step on the way.

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