What do you want to change in your life? Grow your business? Shrink your waistline? Improve your relationships with colleagues, clients, candidates? For most of us, figuring out what to do, what's in the way and how to get to a better place is a constant struggle. We seemingly have the desire, yet we can't seem to attain the changes we consciously tell ourselves we want.

I recently came across a book that contains a formula for change. Make Your Shift: The Five Most Powerful Moves You Can Make to Get Where YOU Want to Go, is written by Beverly Flaxington, an accomplished consultant, author, corporate trainer, and behavioral expert.

She addresses the elements of change that are so often missed, including the fact we are naturally resistant to change as a self-preservation mechanism.

Every effort to create change is susceptible to the same problem - lack of commitment and motivation. Change requires the motivation to keep up a sustained effort, and a commitment to getting to the desired place. And it requires a level of awareness, understanding buy-in and action.

I recently hosted my divorced parents, and one of my sisters, all of whom live across the country, for a milestone family event. Of course the stress level and pressure is ratcheted up considerably during these moments, and it was an inopportune time for my wife and me to have a rare, but particularly powerful, argument. In front of my mom.

As we were "debriefing" the next day, I happened to mention to my mother that though the subjects or issues may change slightly, the marital arguments I have with my wife tend to follow the same pattern. We are both stubborn, and often more interested in proving the other wrong than actually resolving the conflict.

My mom's immediate - and succinct reply - was, "How can you counsel others on changing the way they communicate and sell themselves if you can't change the way you communicate in your own relationships?"

Is that a rhetorical question mom? Or did you want me to really answer it?

Actually I have begin the process of trying to identify - and remedy - the breakdowns in communication that lead to raised voices and blood pressure. But like anything, it takes diligence and deliberateness and practice to master.

In fact, in order for us to master something new, whether it be a golf swing or a communication style, our brains need to grow between 100,000 and 100 million new connections. These new connections create the new “programming” that give us the ability to do something we couldn’t previously. Without enough new connections, mastery is never achieved. Without mastery, it is impossible to improve performance.

In order for us to master something new, whether it be a golf swing or a communication style, our brains need to grow between 100,000 and 100 million new connections. These new connections create the new “programming” that give us the ability to do something we couldn’t previously. Without enough new connections, mastery is never achieved. Without mastery, it is impossible to improve performance.

So let's get back to the book and see what Bev has to offer on this front.

Here's a look at the SHIFT acronym;

Specify the desired outcome
Highlight obstacles and categorize
Identify the human factor
Find alternatives
Take disciplined action

The book is written in two parts. Part 1, the first five chapters, explains the five steps in the SHIFT model. Part 2: Tips and Tools for Greater Effectiveness in Life, is seven chapters of life lessons Flaxington has learned as a coach and consultant.

One of the things I think the book does a good job of is highlighting the importance of exploring our own resistance and obstacles to change, as well as understanding our own individual unique approach to change.

Have you heard of the book? Read it? Recommend it? We would love to hear from you, or even just comment on how successful - or unsuccessful - you have been at creating change in your own personal or professional life, and why.

Tags: Motivation, Change, Reviews, Behavior, Creating change