Whether you want to make a change in your eating habits or help someone else do so, it’s no secret that having motivation to change is key. What is often not spoken about are the 3 parts of motivation: being ready, willing and able to change.
HOWEVER, wanting to change is not the same as being ready to make that change, being willing to do what it takes to change or having the ability to make concrete changes.
Being able to change or having the ability to change means you have the needed skills, resources, and confidence to make the change. For example, imagine a person who wants to eat more vegetables. Their ability to eat more veggies can be enhanced by knowing where to buy them, having the resources to buy them and how to prepare them. Giving tips on knowledge to help people be able to change used to be the main tasks of dietitians and other health professionals however that role has evolved.
Being willing to change is intertwined with the importance you place on changing—how much a change is wanted or desired. For example, imagine this person knows where to buy veggies, has the budget to purchase them and they have a few good recipes on how to prepare vegetables. They just don’t find it worth all the effort to eat more veggies.
Being ready to change is usually the final step in which you decide to change a particular behavior. It involves making this change a priority in your life. Let’s continue with the example of our friend who wants to eat more vegetables. They have all the info needed to have vegetables available to them more often. They have decided that its worth the effort to prepare them and eat them more often at meals. Being ready to make the needed changes a priority is the last step. Making this change and the necessary actions a priority such as taking an extra 5min at supper to cook the veggies rather than read the paper or prepare veggies for tomorrow;s lunch rather than watching tv, would be an example of being ready.
Usually, motivation to make a change evolves naturally in the order of ability, willingness and being ready- contrary to the well known saying!
So next time you feel stuck trying to make a change to your habits, remember to explore your ability, willingness and readiness to make that change. If you aren’t, why not chose a different habit to change and go back to that one at a later time? It could save you energy and be more efficient.