Awareness to Action

There’s a chasm between awareness and action wider than The Snake River Canyon.

There’s a chasm between awareness and action wider than The Snake River Canyon.

Self-awareness is necessary but not sufficient for change. It’s not even always necessary. Plenty of people out there living their best lives who seldom self-reflect.

Meanwhile, the world is filled with people who are excruciatingly aware of their own self-defeating behaviors yet can’t seem to make adaptive changes. It can be frustrating.

Some know that smoking is killing them or that stuffing their face with coffee cake is obesogenic yet feel powerless to act effectively.

This is why advice can be so discouraging.

So how do we cross the canyon? How do we move from awareness to action?

There’s no perfect answer but here’s a few features of change processes that go beyond good advice - features that help spur action.

1. The Narrative - A story we frame and tell ourselves can have a huge action-motivating effect. It might be about how we got here, our purpose, and where we are headed but it doesn’t have to be. We can retell the story over and over and we can edit it over time as we change. 

My narrative involves my kids. I want to be able to teach and play with them now. I want to be present as they grow and reach milestones like graduation, marriage and having children. And I want to be able to play with their kids years from now.

2. The Buy-In - People need to have a plan or change rationale that they buy into. It doesn't even have to be a good one although that's better. The critical thing here is that people buy-into it  - that we believe.

I buy into the whole low carb + intermittent fasting thing. Maybe it will be disproven one day who knows but I bought in and it has worked for me.

And the deeper I have gotten into the story, the more I believe based on information and my own experiences.

3. Support - Having people around us to inspire and support us is crucial. This one is huge and goes neglected so often especially by some men who believe they can do it all on their own.

4. The Fire - This one is the hardest to quantify. I can see it in people though. It is sparked in this moment when someone says to themselves, “I’ve had enough.” It is sometimes one of those moments in life when everything changes. Those moments happen

The Narrative, The Buy-In, Support, and The Fire. These are not the only four features of profound adaptive change processes but they are biggies.


Here’s a pic of the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. Pretty wide.


Here are some links related to today’s post.

How Stories Can Change the Brain

The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change breaks it down into stages of change.

Here’s Evel Knievel attempting to leap the Snake River Canyon in a rocket.

The working title for this post was From a Whisper to a Scream - a great song by Elvis Costello.