The 5 Steps of Change (from the book 2 Second Decisions)



Get Out of Denial and Recognize Your Blind Spots 

The most challenging part of leading change is when you feel the pain of being stuck, but you are blindfolded: you don’t know why things don’t work out the way you want them to, you don’t know what you are doing wrong, and you feel you have done everything right and still didn’t end up where you wanted to end up. Your best indication for the need for change is frustration and pain. If you feel down, if you feel frustrated, if you feel jealous of others, if you feel disappointed—these are all, believe it or not, good signs. If you are feeling any of these, you are already on your first step toward change. 

Change is never happening out of comfort. Change happens as a result of frustration and pain. Embrace your pain. Welcome your frustration. They wake you up into awareness that change needs to happen. Feeling frustrated is the beginning of change. 

Here are the three stages of Step 1, Awareness: 

  • You experience pain: You become uncomfortable and experience pain as a result of the way things currently are. 
  • You reflect and discover: You reflect and find repeating patterns in your life; making similar mistakes, repeating similar choices that are bad for you. 
  • You hold yourself accountable: You become aware that change is in your hands and decide to start holding yourself accountable for the changes that you need to make.


Decide What to Do Differently and How to Go About It 

Once you have gained the awareness that you are making similar choices over and over again without even noticing, and decide to take things into your hands, you are in the process of step 2. Now is the time to get focused on your goals, to find out what matters to you the most, and to plan in detail exactly how you are going to make it happen. 

In leading change you are working against your own brain. The brain prefers to stick with the old and familiar because change takes a lot of energy, which the brain prefers not to spend. Anything obscure, unclear, or undefined allows the brain to pull you back into your old habits. Your goal is to curb the brain’s tendency to do that, and your plan for that is to get clear on what you want and to get detailed with your plan to accomplish that. 

Here are three things that you need to focus on when you are at Step 2: 

  • Define Goals: Get clear on what needs to change. As you are reading through this book, you will learn how to use 2 Second Decisions to define what matters to you the most. Once you get out of your head, use 2 second decisions and gain clarity on your goals, you will also gain clarity on where you are heading and what you want in your life, in your career, with your relationships, and with your finances and wellness—in all aspects of your life. 
  • Prioritize: Find out what matters to you the most. Get laser-focused on your goals for change by using 2 second decisions and scaling from 0-10. Getting clear on what matters to you the most is key. How much time do you spend trying to please others? How much energy do you spend on trying to do what you think other people expect of you? 2 Second Decisions will give you the mental clarity on what you want and on what matters to you the most. These are the things that you will focus on, work hard for, and win at.
  • Plan: Create a clear action plan for change. This is critical, because in the change you are working against your own brain, and your brain hates change. To curb your brain’s tendency to pull you back toward old habits, you need a clear and detailed action plan. The clearer and more detailed your action plan for change is, the more you are curbing your brain from pulling you toward old habits.

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Dr. Michelle Rozen

Dr. Michelle Rozen, Ph.D., is a highly respected authority on the psychology of change. She is one of the most booked motivational speakers nationwide as well as internationally, and a frequent guest on media outlets such as NBC, ABC, FOX News, and CNN on topics related to dealing with change in our world and in every aspect of our lives, so that we can do better and feel better.

Her most recent book, 2 Second Decisions helps people power through with their most challenging decisions through turbulent times.

Dr. Michelle Rozen consistently speaks for Fortune 500 companies and her clients include some of the most recognizable companies in the world including Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, and The U.S. Navy. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Psychology and resides in the greater NYC area.

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