How to create change that sticks

Five ways to create change that sticks

Did you make any New Year resolutions this year? How are they going?

How is that intention to get up an hour earlier working out? Or your plan to exercise more? Or your commitment to reading around an area of work you’re not confident about?

Not so good?

Maybe you made a brilliant start and now your new plans are falling by the wayside.

Dump the good intentions

I don’t particularly encourage my third sector coaching clients to make New Year resolutions. Firstly, because we want to see positive change all year round, but also because, on the whole, resolutions tend not to get achieved, in the long term at least. They are good intentions, and not much more.

In my experience of coaching leaders who want to be as productive and effective as possible, some powerful back up strategies are needed to make change that sticks.

Your changemaker’s toolkit

Most of my clients have at least a few of these tools in their kit:

  • They crystalise their intentions with a clear vision of how things will look when the desired change has taken place. I help them use their imagination to step into the future to feel, see, hear, touch, taste even, what will be happening. When the going is tough, their vision is a major motivator. It’s the Big Why, I guess.
  • Success also comes from having a plan that includes a specific course of measurable action. ‘Read more’, generally doesn’t cut it. But an intention to spend an hour every Thursday between 8 and 9pm reading five blogs or articles, may well do.
  • Some sort of ‘habit tracker’ is useful. I give my clients a checklist so they regularly check in with what actions are being taken or not. The very action of doing this increases the likelihood of success. As management guru Peter Drucker says, ”What gets measured, get’s managed.” He’s so right.
  • I also help my clients to devise a set of gremlin busting statements such as “You are doing so well.” “I know am I capable of creating x change.” “I am learning how to manage my time and my self.” These affirming statements counteract the loud, familiar and persistent gremlin voices that crop up whenever you try a new path. You know the ones. “You’ll never do this.” “You didn’t manage last year and you won’t do it now.” “Who do you think you are?” Tell them where to go, I say!
  • Another route to success is accountability to another person. My clever Virtual Assistant, Louise, sent me this link recently. It gave me an intriguing insight into how I respond to intentions to create change and what this means about how I should organise myself. Apparently, I am an Obliger. Not so good at getting things done when I’m forging on alone. But great when I have someone else who knows about my commitment on my back (I like them to think well of me!). I know I benefit hugely from having a Mentor and a VA to help me get the big thinking and planning and the small print covered.

Over to you?

If you set intentions for 2018, how’s it going? Do you have your own version of a changemaker’s toolkit? If you’re going to give any of my suggestions a go do let me know! I’d also love to hear what tips and tricks work for you, so please share in the comments below.

What next?

If, like me, you’re an Obliger and you need some accountability to help change stick, coaching can help. Call me on 0208 772 7808 or (07958 501 427) or drop me an email at We can have a no-obligation phone chat to see how I can help you take those important next steps.