Do you want change badly enough?

Some people…

…start diets, then give in.
…embark on exercise regimes, then give in.
…stop smoking, then give in.
…start reading a book, then give in.


…start writing a blog, then give in.
…vow to make a difference at work, then give in.
…vow to run with their business idea, then give in.
…vow to change their career direction, then give in.

We have all done it.

We see or hear something that triggers the reaction of “right, I’m going to change this” but within a few days we become swamped in our usual daily activities and nothing changes at all.

Why is this? For me there are two reasons.

1 – we don’t want change badly enough.
2 – we just can’t get out of out of our daily routine.

(Some may argue that point two can’t be used as an excuse and in fact point one is the truth)

If you have struggled to change something, Jack Russell (author of Don’t Tell The Bumble Bee) suggests that it takes 21 days to change a positive or negative habit, so you need carry out the required activity for 21 days solid to really give yourself a real chance of change in the long term.

I see it all the time and I bet you do too. Some people change the whole direction of their lives whilst others can’t even give up the strawberry cheesecake yogurts they crave each lunchtime.

With that in mind, I ask you:

Have you ever tried the 21 days technique?
Have you ever vowed to change something but given in?
Have you got an opinion on why people give in on change so easily?

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  • Alastair Banks

    Hi Robert, I've not tried the 21 day technique but I may well do now. Strangely I'm quite good at adapting and changing (and sticking with it) in my business life but hopeless in my personal life, especially where diet and excercise are concerned! I blog quite a bit about taking action rather than just sitting there and saying 'oh yeah, great idea' – all I need to do is take some of my own advice and put it into my personal life :)…..oh and read Jack's book :)

  • Robert Pickstone

    Hi Al. I think the vast majority of us are hopeless at changing our diet and exercise routines! Those that seem to have it sussed don't seem to be making an effort – it just seems to be a good habit – that is why I may give the 21 day technique a really good go. Jack delivered a speech last week and I was really impressed – much of it is repeated in his book – but the key messages and tips are the same. I found him on Linked in and his company is based in Exeter. I will try the 21 day technique starting today – shall we give each other and update about how we get on on the 7th July?!

  • banksy6

    I actually met Jack about 6 or 7 years ago but haven't seen him since so really good to know he's still about. Im off to Malta tomorrow for a long weekend so would fail miserably on the 21 days (plus I need to think of something really good to do) but keen to start something shortly we could help each other with – can you think of something specific?

  • Robert Pickstone

    I have to admit I can be quite lazy when it comes to commenting on blog posts (thanks for commenting on mine by the way!). Far too often I read, share but don't really give an opinion or get involved in a conversation. I have set myself the challenge of commenting on at least 3 blog posts a day for the next 21 days. What do you think? What things did you have in mind? Have fun in Malta.

  • banksy6

    I like it – I think Scott quotes something like only 10% of people who read, contribute so you're not alone Robert :) Participation is part of my own social strategy and I know it works so I say good on you. I need to think of something I can do every day for 21 days and start when I get back…will come back to you on that one

  • Paul Klaszus

    Great content here! You're right – the desire to see our vision come into fruition is measured by the pursuit of our goals through action..

    So if you see no action, that person has low desire.

    I think everyone 'wants' a better life… but wanting something and desiring something are two different things in my book.

  • Robert Pickstone

    Thank you very much Paul.

    Couldn't agree more – want and desire are completely different things. There are a couple of things that I am personally going to change, I know the actions that are needed, and now all that is left are the moments of truth ahead. Do I 'want' or 'desire' these changes?

    I may be going off on a bit of a tangent here but a lot of it comes down to the old 'actions speak louder than words' saying. Someone can talk to you for hours about what their vision is and how much they desire it but taking those actions is the real litmus test.

  • Lorenaheletea

    Cool Blog Rob.

    Have you got an opinion on why people give in on change so easily? Absolutely.
    Habits, beliefs, conditioning not easy to change if we don't know how.Most people need help with that. Learning about self and guiding our mind needs to be done daily. We formed the habits, conditioning we operated based on over our entire life. We operate based on our Self Image in all areas of life, so just waking up Jan. 1st. and deciding that starting today we are going to be a fit person it's not going to happen over night. We must reprogram our Self Image(Image of Self, what we believe we can achieve) fist. Just like every Corporation has a Corporate Image every person has a self Image – and we do not deviate from that Image…..
    Lorena H.

  • Shannon

    Way to call it Robert! My hands are both up on being guilty of this.

    I've heard it's 80% why. 20% how. Not sure if it's down to not wanting it bad enough as it is down to how we've been programmed. I find that I have to consistently: feed the mind and encourage the soul to aid the reprogramming.

    You become part of what you're around. To that end, I am very careful who I take into my circle. I'm also careful of who I share my dreams with as I find the insecure and mediocre will try to make you feel like you can't achieve your goals. The flip side? The successful, brilliant minds among us make us feel like we can achieve it sooner.

    Great post.. you've got me thinking a lot about my habits in this area.


  • Robert Pickstone

    Using a corporate image is a nice way of explaining Self Image. When put into that context, we can see how important image is and how difficult it can be to change with the snap of your fingers. Forming habits based on a life’s worth of conditioning can make changing those habits extremely difficult but desire, routine and guiding your mind makes change a lot easier.

  • Robert Pickstone

    Thanks Shannon. It’s nice that you can hold your hands up to this – I think almost every person on the planet has been guilty of this at one point or another!

    Many people agree with you when you say it is down to how you’ve been programmed. The consistency shown after a decision has been made to make a change is really important – when it really becomes part of a routine you almost don’t need to be making an effort though as it just become a good habit.

    Again, many people agree with you when you say that surrounding yourself with positive people will help you remain positive and push harder to achieve dreams. I hear it all the time and I am certainly more effective in these circumstances.

    Thanks very much for your comments.

  • Jed Langdon

    Brilliant post Rob,

    I did a bit of research on this subject for my dissertation a few years ago. I interviewed student smokers on their attitudes towards giving up smoking and my findings were completely in line with the comment made by Paul below. Most of the smokers I interviewed wanted to give up because they were aware of all of the negative health impacts, but none of them had a real desire to do so. They also indicated that it is something they would take more seriously in the future and I find when there is no real desire to change, it is easy to hide behind the future with thoughts like “I'll give up smoking when I have children” or “I'll definitely start that new work out tomorrow”. This also indicates a difference between the 'present' and 'future' self image. I believe that in order to change, the present and future self images need to meet in the middle and a 'desire to change' be formed. I also believe that this is best done in small, manageable steps and Jack Russell's 21 days looks like a great way to achieve this. Thanks for sharing his work, I will definitely look into it further.

    Like everyone else, there are many things that I would like to change to make myself better and I will give this technique a go. Firstly, I am completely with you on commenting on more blog posts. I tend to do most of my blog reading on the move, so it isn't always easy to comment…so I hereby vow to set aside more time specifically devoted to reading and commenting on blog posts. Perhaps we could compare numbers and progress in 3 weeks time!

    Thanks for providing a thought provoking post, which also offers practical guidance – great work!

  • Robert Pickstone

    Thanks Jed. Your dissertation sounds like an interesting piece of work. Desire is so important when it comes to taking actions and small steps, especially when being knocked back, and it is worth visiting Paul’s blog as he explains this really well in a short video he produced.

    Commenting on more blog posts has felt really good. I’ve been speaking to new people, engaging in more conversations and thinking about new ideas. It is a great way to learn and to take yourself out a bubble, if that is the right way of putting it!

  • Pingback: The #21days challenge – now is the time for change | Jed Langdon()

  • Moomeekk

    Very funny I recently started a blog and I was JUST going to do an entry tonight on CHANGE and why its easier for some people and harder for others!!! Kharma I ask?? LOL

    Loved this from you! Check out my website if you want Remember I'm new to this!!!

  • Robert Pickstone


    Just checked your website and it looks very nice. Your shade of blue is much more interesting than the colours I have chosen!

    That is a bit spooky that you were going to blog about the same issue as me! If you do blog about it, let me know and I would love to come across and share opinions on what you write. :-)


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  • Pingback: #21days done! Now what? | Robert Pickstone()

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