June 6th, 2010 2:25 PM by Lehel S.
Why Self-Help Often Doesn't Work ... And What Does - By Morty Lefkoe ***------------------------------------------------------------How many times have you attended a personal growth workshop, or listened to a self-help audio course, or viewed a set of DVDs designed to change your life? Given the type of people who usually read my blog, probably most of you.
And how many times did you get a high when you completed the program ... that dissipated shortly, leaving you almost where you were before you started? Based on what many of you have told me, an awful lot of you.
Why don't these courses that usually offer such valuable information produce lasting change? Based on everything we know about change, they should.But what if our assumption about what produces change is wrong?
I + M = Change Is Supposed To Work
The presumption implicit in most attempts to change behavior is: Information (I) + Motivation (M) = Change. This makes perfect sense to most people who are trying to producer change, whether they are psychotherapists, training professionals, parents, or committed individuals. If you know what to do and how to do it, and if you are motivated (positively or negatively), isn't that all you need to take the appropriate action?
Obviously not, since the formula of I + M = C doesn't seem work a lot of the time. If it did, everyone would wear seat belts, which they don't. Everyone would keep New Year's resolutions, instead of letting them go after a couple of weeks. People suffering from cardiovascular disease would adopt low-fat, low-cholesterol diets. Corporate training programs would be far more effective in changing worker behavior.
Let's take a simple example. Say you're a procrastinator. You always leave work projects until the last minute. As a result, you're anxious much of the time and sometimes you turn projects in late, which subjects you to the disapproval of your boss. In fact, he tells you, "I'd like to consider you for a promotion and a raise, but I can't as long as you continue to deliver projects late."
Making Plans To ChangeYou decide you must change and you really want to change. So what do you do? *You prioritize your activities, assuming that it will help you focus on the most important projects. * You make a schedule that helps you allot time during the month for work on the most important projects. * You put up reminders in prominent places. * You create rewards to give yourself when you finish a project--a special dinner or a new item of clothing. * You ask your friends to support you.
So now you've gathered all the information and resources you need to get your projects done on time. And you have several strong reasons for doing it: a possible promotion, a raise, your boss's approval, and an alleviation of your constant anxiety.
But be honest! After you've done all this, plus all the other variations you've discovered, does the behavior pattern really change? Does the I + M = C formula enable you to do what you say you are going to do? And if it does today, does it continue to be easy month after month? For most of us, the answer is no. (If you think this isn't a valid assumption, consider all the times you've committed to some change in your life, buttressed by Information + Motivation, but for some inexplicable reason you failed to follow through.)
Let's look at another example of how I + M = C is ineffective in helping people change their behavior and emotions.
Imagine you attended a workshop, or read a book, or purchased some CDs and DVDs telling you what you have to do to have a great relationship. Now you know exactly what you need to do.
*You must honestly communicate your thoughts and feelings. *You must listen from your partner's point of view. *You must "get" your partner's communication, in other words, get that what your partner is saying is true for him/her whether or not you happen to agree. *Focus on what you can do to improve the relationship instead of assuming all the problems are the result of your partner.
You now know what to do and you are motivated.
But months go by and nothing improves despite your best efforts. You are still withholding some of your thoughts and feelings. You still feel your partner is at fault for most of your difficulties. Etc.
Why isn't I + M = C working?
I + M = Change Doesn't Work Because it Ignores BeliefsMaybe because you still have the beliefs: It's dangerous to express my feelings. My feelings aren't important. No one is interested in what I have to say. Men/women can't be trusted. Relationships are difficult. And so on.
Maybe because the formula of I + M = C never deals with beliefs, so lasting change isn't possible. I + M = C isn't enough to change emotional and behavioral patterns because the beliefs that cause them haven't been eliminated.
Beliefs are nothing more than thoughts we have about reality that we are convinced are "the truth." They are, for us, accurate statements about reality. Therefore your beliefs mold your behavior, your emotions, and your attitudes.
So if the personal growth material you've tried hasn't produced lasting change, you now know why. You were informed and motivated, but you never eliminated the beliefs that necessitate the existing behavior you want to change.
Now that you know that your beliefs determine your life, you are where I was in January 1985: excited to have found the explanation for my inability to change my behavior and feelings--yet not knowing how to get rid of my limiting beliefs.
And then I found a way to eliminate those beliefs--quickly, easily, and permanently. And my life was changed forever. And now you can eliminate your limiting beliefs and change your life forever too.
If you haven't yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to http://www.selfgrowth.com/guide/mortylefkoe.html where you can eliminate one limiting belief free.Copyright © 2009 Morty Lefkoe ** To comment on this article or to read comments about this article, go here.
About the Author:Morty Lefkoe, the SelfGrowth.com Official Guide to Self-Esteem and Self Confidence and founder of the Lefkoe Institute in Fairfax, CA , is the author of Re-create Your Life: Transforming Yourself and Your World. Using The Lefkoe Method, Morty and his colleagues have helped over 12,000 clients get rid of a variety of behaviors and negative feelings, including the fear of public speaking. For additional information, contact Morty at firstname.lastname@example.org