The Experience of Change

"You see, the past is past, and the future is yet to come.  That means the future is in your hands -- the future entirely depends on the present.  That realization gives you a great responsibility." -- H.H. the Dalai Lama 

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, person-centered conversation to strengthen a person's own motivation and commitment to change (from  As an Integrative Medicine Doctor, I often use the practice of motivational interviewing with my patients to learn what truly motivates their desires to help them set health goals that emanate from an intrinsic desire to change.  Let's look at some of the lessons from Motivational Interviewing together to see how you can apply these tips to your own life to inspire changes that facilitate your self-care.

  1. Motivation is fundamental to change.  It fluctuates and it can be modified.  It is influenced by external factors and social interactions and is very sensitive to interpersonal style.  We have internal and external resources to increase motivation.
  2. Ambivalence towards change is a normal part of the change process.   It is not pathological -- it calls us to examine the key issue that we need to resolve in order for change to occur.  It is our friend.
  3. Core values are key!  Know your core values and when your values may be at odds.  Try to resolve those conflicts between values.  Check out some values list's online and make a list for yourself in order of importance.  Notice when you are choosing one value over another (For example, choosing socializing with friends over exercising.  This may give you a clue that you should find a way to make your workouts more social so that you can live out both of your values simultaneously -- socializing and fitness).  Use more BOTH/AND language when it comes to your values instead of EITHER/OR.
  4. AREDS -- Avoid arguing with yourself, Roll with your resistance, Express empathy towards yourself as you embrace change, Develop discrepancy by closing the gaps between your different values and where you are now and where you want to be, and Support your own self-efficacy and surround yourself with others who will do the same.
  5. Assess where you are on the ICR (importance-confidence-readiness) scale:  How IMPORTANT is it for you to change right now?  If you decide to change, how CONFIDENT are you that you could do it?  How READY are you to change right now?

Finding a practitioner like myself who is skilled in the practice of Motivational Interviewing can help you to dive deeper into these topics and resolve internal ambivalence so that you can access your internal motivation to change.