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7 Easy Steps to Make An Intentional Change to Be a Better You

by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

Are you looking to make a change in your life? Whether you want to be a better leader, a more effective communicator, or just learn how to be happier, making an intentional change can help you achieve your goals.

We all want to be our best selves, but sometimes we don’t know how to get started.

Let’s take a look at how to make an intentional change for a better you by breaking down the process into simple steps that you can follow every day. So let’s get started!

What is Intentional Change?

First, let’s define what we mean by “intentional change.”

Intentional change is any change that you make on purpose, with a specific goal in mind. It’s different from spontaneous or accidental changes, which are usually not planned or thought out ahead of time.

So why is intentional change important?

Well, studies have shown that people who make intentional changes are more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.

And when it comes to leadership, becoming the best version of yourself is essential to success. But how do you go about making an intentional change?

7 Easy Steps to Make An Intentional Change to Be a Better You

Make a List of Areas to Improve

The first step is to identify the areas you want to improve in your life. This can be anything from your daily habits to your relationships to your career. Be as specific as possible so that you can easily identify what changes you want to make. Make a list of all the areas you want to work on, and then prioritize them.

Be careful that you aren’t choosing core elements of your personality to change. For example, if you’re an introvert, you don’t need to become an extrovert to be a successful leader. Remember that you can still be an effective leader while being true to yourself.

Focus, Focus, Focus

Making an intentional change for a better you is all about focus. From the list you made of areas you want to improve, choose one item to focus on that is realistic and achievable. Trying to tackle too many things at once will only lead to frustration and ultimately cause you to give up altogether.

For example, if you want to be a better leader, start by focusing on your communication skills. Then, choose one area of communication that you want to improve and make a plan to work on it. Perhaps you want to become better at giving feedback, or maybe you need to work on active listening.

Whatever it is, make sure it is something that you can realistically achieve.

Maybe you want to lose weight, quit smoking, or become more organized. Whatever the case may be, making lasting changes can be tough. That’s why it’s important to start small and focus on one realistic goal at a time. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, start by cutting out sugary drinks or adding an extra serving of vegetables to your diet each day.

Set a Goal

Now that you’ve identified one item you want to improve, it’s time to set a concrete goal. This goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. In other words, it should be a SMART goal.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal for improving your physical health:

“I will lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months by exercising for 30 minutes every day and eating a healthy diet.”

This goal is specific (lose 20 pounds), measurable (exercise for 30 minutes every day), achievable (lose 2 pounds per week), relevant (weight loss is relevant to my health), and time-bound (I will lose the weight in 6 months).

An example of a SMART goal for a team leader who wants to make a point to ask her team for input more often before making decisions is:

“I will solicit input from my team members before making major decisions that will impact them directly.”

This goal is specific (consult with team members), measurable (Before making major decisions), achievable (schedule regular check-ins with the team), relevant (team input is relevant to the decision-making process), and time-bound (do this on a regular basis).

7 Easy Steps to Make An Intentional Change to Be a Better You

Create Your Action Plan

Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to create your action plan. Remember, even small steps can lead to big changes over time.

Come up with a plan of action for how you will change this one thing. Write it down or create a visual reminder so that you can refer back to it often.

Let’s say you decided that you want to start waking up earlier, so you aren’t so rushed in the mornings. But you also want to make sure you are still getting a full night’s sleep, so you are at your best.

A plan of action for this might be setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and going to bed 30 minutes earlier as well. Your plan might also include turning off your devices two hours before bedtime so that your body has time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Take Action

The next step is to take action on your plan. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you have to put in the work to make the change happen. Follow your plan consistently, and don’t give up even if you have a few setbacks along the way. Remember, you are capable of making this change, and you will get there eventually.

If your goal is to wake up earlier, that might mean setting your alarm and getting out of bed as soon as it goes off. It might be difficult at first, but eventually, it will become a habit.

Celebrate Your Successes

Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way! As you start to see progress with your goal, take a moment to celebrate your success. This will help you stay motivated and on track. Give yourself a pat on the back or treat yourself to something you enjoy.

A small celebration for waking up earlier might be setting aside time in the morning for a cup of coffee or reading your favorite book.

7 Easy Steps to Make An Intentional Change to Be a Better You

Maintain Your Progress

Making an intentional change is not a one-time event, it’s a lifelong journey. Just like any journey, there will be ups and downs along the way. The important thing is to never give up on yourself.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve made the change a habit, you can move on to other areas of your life that you’d like to improve. Remember, baby steps lead to big results!

Making positive changes in our lives can be difficult, but it’s worth the effort. By assessing our areas of improvement and setting realistic goals, we can make lasting changes that will improve our well-being. Creating an action plan and taking small steps each day is essential to seeing results. And finally, it’s important to celebrate our successes and maintain our progress by continuing to monitor our behavior.

Making an intentional change can be a difficult but rewarding process. By following these simple steps, you can make an intentional change for a better you. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

About the Author

Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment or who is ready to quietly quit. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

About the Author

Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment or who is ready to quietly quit. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

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