A Willingness to Change

The willingness to change

Desire is the real catalyst for change

Perhaps one of the most crucial factors for improvement is having an open mind, and a desire or willingness for change.

Willingness is a particular stance that a person can take when they are presented with a difficult emotion or challenge. People who are “willing” to come in contact with their feelings, without trying to avoid them, with all the associated anxiety and fears, are much more likely to have improved outcomes. Willingness to change is a measure of the cognitive and emotional buy-in to the change and can be broken down into three mental phases: Understanding, accepting and desire.


The “understanding" phase occurs where people understand that there are good reasons for change (i.e., a serious medical condition,) and that the change is not based on a passing whim.


Coming to an understanding is often not enough. In order to reach true willingness, the realization of the needed change must reach an emotional “acceptance that its time for the change to take place. Acceptance may be a short phase, particularly where the person sees the change in a positive light – often where they have a personal gain. However, for many people, gaining acceptance is a difficult process.

Desire is the real catalyst for change

For willingness to have the most impact, the acceptance must be transformed into a “desire" to initiate change.

The internal motivation may vary, for example:

  1. The individual has a passion to create a new, improved future for themself.
  2. A desire driven by urgency to get it over and behind them.
  3. Friend or relative may positively influence motivation
  4. Fear: of death, decline or loss of relationships
  5. Tragedy or trauma recovery efforts

For some people, it is only when they actually begin doing things toward their intention for change, that willingness is fully embraced.

Summing Up…

The success of any regimen for improvement hinges upon our dedication and desire to make the change happen. Without this, we tend stagnate and procrastinate.  Yet with dedication and desire, we can make positive change inevitable.


A Willingness to Change


How to motivate yourself to change your behavior | Tali Sharot | TED