The Best Shifts Begin With Desire

Wishing LampHave you ever committed to what you thought were well-thought-out goals for the new year, got off to a revved start, only to find yourself off track and defeated within the first month or two?  Maybe even first day or two?  I can sense the nodding of heads, and I personally know this experience all too well.  For me, it begins with my new year wellness goals like exercising most days, drinking at least 80 ounces of water, taking my vitamins, getting more sleep, stretching more, meditation, and on it goes. Yikes!  You could say that’s a lot at once.  Besides claiming too much change all at once, what I have seen as the biggest determinate of whether change happens and sustains is really quite simple.  It’s about desire.

For any change that you want to make in your life, whether it is at work – like providing more feedback to your team, or doing weekly planning of your own work…OR whether it is personal change such as to do with your lifestyle or relationships, it comes down to desire. You must know not only what you want to shift (and have it be reasonable), but you need to identify WHY you want to do it.  What will you have or what will occur when the change happens? Breathe into this at a desire level. To what end are you putting energy in this shift?  How will you or others feel or what is the experience when this shift happens?  Change must be grounded in your emotions, desire and values.  Let’s face it change is messy and not easy at all.  We’re creatures of habit. Our brains are wired to sit back and relax into our comfortable and familiar ways (and neuro-pathways!) that reinforce existing behaviors, not new ones. In order for any change to happen, they must align the level of your emotions and identity – and there are a few things you must be clarify.  Ask yourself these questions:

1)  WHAT is it that you want to change?  Be specific.

2)  WHY do you really want to do it?  (What is the emotional desire behind it? How will you feel once you attain this? How will this shift impact you or others near you – at a transformed, emotional level?)

3)  Does the desired change align with your VALUES? (if you can say yes – like, “despite my crazy schedule, I want to plan my work so I can carve time for strategic thinking – which is my sweet spot and passion, or I want to move/exercise more because I want to be more fit to have more fun with my kids, the heart of my life….than you are working from core values.)

Once you know these three things, then you’re on a good track. You’re setting out to make a identity, desire and values-based change, and that is a great foundation for success.  Then of course, last and not at all least, you need a plan:

4) What PLAN can you put in place to make it happen?  What rituals can you set up to make it easier for the shift to sustain? (Our brain does better with rituals) Attaching a new habit to something you are already doing is helpful too.

I emphatically agree that a new year presents that nice crisp, fresh canvas we can use to begin again. It can be exhilarating!  Just make sure that you begin with your desires. If you can give a compelling answer to these 4 questions, then dive in!

And if you need a little help along the way, well, I would be remiss to withhold that a partner, friend, or coach can really help:).




  1. Lisa Hurley says:

    Great article! We are all – to various degrees – creatures of inertia, and without a burning “why,” new actions never last long enough to become habit.

    • jberquist says:

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa. Change is a tough one…and sometimes even WITH the “why”!! But it can certainly help.