Friday, April 10, 2009

Nine Questions and an Exercise to Jump-Start Change in Your Life

1) How long has the change been needed?

2) What is the situation's history?

3) What are the external forces that keep the change from happening?

4) What are the internal/personal forces that keep the change from happening?

5) What are the top three reasons the change needs to take place?

6) What are the top three excuses/rationales made for keeping things status quo?

7) Are there parts of the ultimate goal/dream that can be compromised in order to still make needed change occur? Is reaching part of the goal, implementing part of the change, acceptable? Why and why not?

8) How quickly and/or gradually can the change be implemented?

9) Who can be enlisted to support and help facilitate this change and who will challenge it?

10) Exercise: Make a Change Flow Chart

a) Take two pieces of paper and on each draw and label a box for your “Start Point”, or where you are now. Label one paper “Vision Flow” and the other “Real Time Flow”

b) Decide upon a number of outcomes, no more than five, and draw boxes representing those outcomes vertically down opposite side of the "Vision Flow" paper from the "start point" box. Label those outcomes if you can or leave them blank until you are able to label them as you proceed.

c) Determine what your first action steps can be (no more than five), make a box for each step on "Vision Flow” piece of paper nearest the "Starting Point"; label each with name and a time frame for action.

d) As you are able, continue visioning flow-boxes and connections, in however many steps necessary, and with as many choices as is reasonable and useful, between your “Start Point” and your “Outcomes”. You can do this as you complete each step and move forward in your vision of change through the flow, or design a complete plan for your vision of change right away. You can also do both.

e) Your “Real Time Flow” chart can be filled in with boxes for the actual steps taken as they occur. Label the boxes with time frames and compare vision and real time. Adjust expectations, time frames and nature of outcomes as you proceed and is necessary.

Note: The less rigid you can be in relationship to expectations of differences between your vision and real time the more creative and less self-judging this exercise will be. The ideal way to proceed might be to see the "Vision Flow” as a fluid and changeable process. Doing it in pencil, or at least using pencil for the names and time frames, might facilitate an optimally creative and productive approach. That being said, incorporating actual time limits and needs is recommended. The “Vision Flow” chart and the “Real Time Flow” chart should interact with each other in productive and positive ways and be a way to document and encourage needed change.
After completing one step your major question can always be: "What is/are the next step/s I can take toward my goals?"
Created by Bob Vance BPh LBSW CPC

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