What Does It Take To Get You To Change?


The final Presidential Debate of this election is now over.  After months of campaigning, TV commercials, debates, rhetoric, flip-flopping, and “whoppers” we are now two weeks away from the 2012 election.

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been presenting their plans, well sort of, and their cases as to why the American people should vote for them.  I decided who I was voting for long ago, and none of the debates, commercials, or anything has swayed me.

The social media measuring stick

As I read my Facebook timeline and Twitter stream it didn’t seem as if many of my friends or tweeps were swayed enough to change their vote.  It seemed that all those in favor of President Obama dug in deeper after each debate.  The same for those in favor of Romney.

No matter how their candidate performed, no matter what negative ads they watched on TV, no matter what polls, jobs reports, or fact-checker feedback.  They had not and probably will not change.  It led me to an interesting question.

What does it take to get a person to change?

What makes someone change an opinion, a behavior, a course of action, and/or a lifestyle?  No matter your choice of candidate, one thing we should be able to agree on is that change happens, all the time.

Sometimes that change is voluntary, sometimes involuntary.  But what is it that finally gets a person to make a change?  There are three things that lead a person to change.  Three stages or places of change.  Typically the earlier stage you are, the better off you will be.


There are some people in the world that learn something new, and immediately begins to work on that positive change.  Tremendous will-power is usually present in this person.  Think of the person that learns eating vegetables is better than eating meat, refined foods, and sugary foods, and goes “cold turkey”, becoming a vegetarian almost overnight.

Or the person who decides one day that smoking is not good for them, and stops without a patch, or any other new-age technologies to quit.  This is the best stage to make a positive change in your life.  Once your mind is expanded and learn there is a better way.


The next place of change comes when your circumstances begin to change for the worse.  Maybe eating refined and processed foods has led to an out-of-shape physical appearance or lower energy levels.

Or smoking has led to that dreaded “smoker’s cough” which may be unattractive to others as well as the smoker, and leads to you being unable to do the things you used to physically.

This place of change is not as ideal as changing the minute you are exposed to and learn new ideas.  Nonetheless it is still good as it is a voluntary change.


This place of change is not good.  If you have failed to change when you’ve learned a better way, or when the result of not changing is affecting your lifestyle, relationships, or appearance and you still haven’t changed, you may get to the point where you have no choice.  That point when change comes by external force.

That external force could be a disease, a relationship that ends not by your choice, a financial consequence like losing your home or car, or a career consequence like losing your job or income.  This change is not pleasant.  Not at all.

Change is good

Change is going to happen.  Therefore we must get used to it, and even embrace it.  The way we look at change and whether we are proactive in seeking change, or being reactive in waiting for circumstance or force to change is important.

I encourage you to look for ways to change for the better.  First, with you, your family, and then your other relationships and community.  Do not wait until you are forced to, or when change cannot happen on your own.

Question:  What stage do you typically make a change?  Please share in the comment section below.

Oct 23, 2012