Motivating people to make changes (iv)

Most of us are ambivalent about making change – we know there are good things about doing things differently, but there are some really comfortable things about sticking with things the way they are.

And if someone tried to ‘make’ us change – we’re more inclined to argue for our old patterns than agree that change would be good!

There are a couple of ways that can help us work through ambivalence without getting into the ‘yes but’ argument that goes no-where. I’ve already mentioned starting with what the person identifies as important to them (that is, what they are already ready to do), as well as offering a number of choices so they can indicate preferences, and retain a sense of control.

But what about the person who has been referred to do something that they either don’t think is important, or that they have little or no confidence that they can achieve? A good example is returning to work…

Take a look at decision balance and values in my latest post on Motivational strategies.



  1. Discovered your website today and found your way of describing basic psychological concepts such as ambivalence quite clear and to the point. I am particularly interested in interactions among perceptual, emotional and behavioral variables.
    I am a retired psychologist, currently writing a paper (book?) on an evolution-based model of the human mind. I’ve been at this model since the mid-70s. At that time I published a fairly lengthy article on what I called–and still do call–The Open Dialogue System.
    Any advice about how to I might set up an appropriate blog for dialogue with interested others?


  2. Hi Charlie
    Welcome to my blog! It’s a pleasure to have your company, and thank you for your compliment about my way of explaining things. I think in many ways I’m still a 4 year old, and I try to make my writing to fit (oh, and I ask just as many questions as any 4 year old I know!!).
    To set up a blog, the way I went about it was go to, and join up for free. I thought quite a lot about presentation, and who I wanted to target, and also the graphics element. I wrote a few posts, then I did a lot of searching (mainly through Google) for information on how to obtain readership…It’s gone on from there!
    I’d be very happy to be of any help that I can – but I have to say that best place I went to has been, and which is great.
    Email me direct if you have any other questions, or I can help in any way.
    adiemus [at] clear [dot] net [dot] nz

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