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  • Writer's pictureAnna Conrad

How to Create Lasting Personal Change

Self-improvement and professional growth often necessitate a deliberate reshaping of entrenched behaviors—a task daunting yet indispensable for those aspiring to leadership excellence. Changing behavior is not merely about abandoning old habits but rather the cultivation of a persona that resonates with effectiveness, influence, and integrity. To navigate this complex landscape, one must adhere to a meticulously crafted strategy enriched with insights from the latest research, real-world examples, and actionable steps designed to foster meaningful change. Let us delve into an enhanced framework that embodies this ethos, transforming the quest for personal development into a tangible roadmap for success.

Elevate Self-Awareness

The initial step towards profound behavioral change is the cultivation of acute self-awareness. A study published in the Harvard Business Review underscores the pivotal role of self-awareness in leadership development, revealing that leaders who actively seek and reflect upon feedback are significantly more effective than those who do not.

Engage in introspection and seek constructive criticism from colleagues and mentors.

Consider maintaining a reflection journal to document your thoughts, reactions, and the feedback received, thus providing a structured mechanism to monitor your progress and identify patterns that may require attention. This practice sharpens your perception of your behaviors and their impacts and fortifies your resolve to evolve.


Articulating your intentions by making concrete commitments can dramatically increase the probability of achieving your objectives. According to a LinkedIn survey on goal setting, individuals who share their goals with a trusted peer or mentor are more than twice as likely to accomplish them as those who keep their ambitions private. Declare your commitment to behavioral change by enlisting the support of a coach, a colleague, or a team, thereby creating a network of accountability. This external validation serves not only as a motivational force but also as a mirror reflecting your progress and areas for improvement.

Deliberate Practice

The axiom "practice makes perfect" holds profound truth in behavioral change. A study examining habit formation revealed that consistent, deliberate practice is crucial for embedding new behaviors. Start with small, manageable objectives that align with your broader goals. Engage in regular, reflective practice sessions, incorporating feedback to refine your approach. Celebrate milestones to reinforce progress and maintain motivation. This iterative process facilitates the acquisition of desired behaviors and contributes to developing a growth mindset, a critical attribute of successful leaders. Our coaching clients track their progress using daily metrics.

results-focused metric for executive coaching client
Example of ILS Coaching Portal metric

Recognize and Overcome Obstacles

The path to behavioral change is fraught with cognitive obstacles that can derail your intentions. These mental interferences often manifest as self-justifications or doubts about the necessity of change. Acknowledge these thoughts as natural responses to the discomfort of change, yet remain vigilant against their persuasive power. Implement strategies to counteract these tendencies, such as setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals to maintain focus and direction. Furthermore, research emphasizes the effectiveness of visualization techniques in overcoming such barriers, suggesting that envisioning success can enhance resilience and determination.

Immediate Actions for Transformational Change

  1. Initiate a Feedback Loop: Schedule regular feedback sessions with diverse colleagues and mentors. Use digital tools like 360-degree feedback platforms to streamline this process.

  2. Declare Your Commitments Publicly: Share your behavioral change goals with at least two people who will hold you accountable. Consider using social media or professional networking sites to document your journey.

  3. Identify and Document Interferences: Keep a journal to note any thoughts or situations that hinder your progress. Develop a set of countermeasures to deploy when these interferences arise.

  4. Engage in Structured Practice: Dedicate specific weekly times to practice new behaviors. Use reminders or digital apps to track your practice sessions and progress.

Transforming behaviors requires a strategic approach characterized by self-awareness, commitment, resilience, and practice. By integrating these principles with actionable steps and leveraging the support of your professional ecosystem, you can navigate the complexities of change with confidence and grace. Remember, in pursuing leadership excellence, the journey is as rewarding as the destination.


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