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Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones…Keeping SCORE of changes!

Making a decision to change something is easy. The energy it takes to actually decide is minimal. Often the decision comes at the conclusion of a long period of procrastination, where you have psychologically wrestled with the potential benefits and limitations of making that decision. But no matter what aspect of life the decision relates to, the actual choice to make a change is easy. It’s the action of making the change which is significantly more challenging….

There are a multitude of self help guides and gurus available, each with their own unique perspective on how to approach these types of choices and decisions. It’s easy to get lost in the plethora of stage and step by step approaches, which allege to guarantee us a lasting and easy to achieve, yet life changing, decision making process. In many cases however what they don’t tell you is, it’s difficult. No one has ever been sold on an idea because it was really hard to do. Yet, those changes that you really want in life are often times going to take you far away from the ‘comfort zone’ of your present situation. Whilst the dissatisfaction with the present situation may well be fuelling the desire to change, many of us quickly return to this position when we discover just how challenging the road to our desired destination is. Relapse is a part of change. It doesn’t mean we failed. It’s feedback to assist us in determination of the right way, energy or means we need to use to actually and positively make that change. There is never failure, only feedback.

Taking a realistic and common sense view, the first step outside of your ‘comfort zone’ will always be alien. Recognise this before you begin. The very nature of changing something means you are going to encounter situations which either will require a different perspective or indeed represent something which you have never done before. It’s all a learning curve. If you already knew how to do it then you’d already be doing it. The trick then is to become more comfortable being uncomfortable. Knowing the path will be hard at first, that it’s going to take energy and commitment, and yet believing in the value of what is to come is fundamental to your success. Adherence to that path of change is essentially determined by the value you place in the outcome of your labours. Without a coherent understanding of why you are doing what you are doing, what the result is going to provide on a fundamental level, then that path will get rockier, harder and like most people, you’ll sprint back inside that comfort zone and lock the door behind affirmations such as “I’m just not that person…” or “It’s not for me....”.

Keep SCORE of your change!

Fundamental understanding of your goal means understanding what intrinsic, base needs and values that outcome meets for you (e.g. security, belonging, recognition etc.) This knowledge then becomes the lighthouse beacon you’ll need to keep you sailing, when the storm of negativity gets fiercer and more challenging to navigate. It’s sometimes extremely difficult however to identify this greater personal value, to shift thinking from the mindset of “continued problem” to focus on “desired outcome”. Using the SCORE model can be a great way of assisting in this cognitive shift, enabling your focus to become more positive and solution orientated.

The SCORE model is essentially a really simple framework, which encourages the assessment of any given situation in five simple categories. Broadly the SCORE model can be viewed as method for determining the ‘gap’ between what we want (desired situation) and what we currently have (current situation). The gap is then filled with the solutions and resources required to bridge this divide.

The SCORE Model for Personal Growth is typically represented as a timeline.

Whilst reality and pragmatism are key to the process, by addressing our situation in this way we place our cognitive anchors firmly in the present and past. In this our weight of negative association can become such that it limits our perspective for change. It is beneficial to understand the timeline for use of the SCORE model, to appropriately anchor and focus our thoughts, however as a process for personal growth it is better used as a method of creating “FUTURE HISTORY”*. As such it’s application should begin with a definition of the desired situation, followed by understanding of the current situation, returning to positively reframe this for the future through creation of solutions and understanding of resources.

*Future History refers to the process of creating a narrative for the future, which is both detailed and compelling. In the same way as visualisation can aid in the delivery of a forthcoming athletic performance, psychological representation and visualisation of the desired situation required (as though it has already been achieved) can provide a much more compelling and positively affirming goal. When setting out this goal, attention should be provided to the language used in order to ensure it is written in a way which reaffirms it has already been achieved. For example,

“It is the 1st January and I am sitting am sitting in my new lounge in my new house. I can hear and smell the ocean through the open window. I feel secure and happy with my life...”

Defining Desired Situation

The desired situation is essentially where you want to get to. It is the ideal position, solution found and problem solved. This may be having a new job, paying off debt or living a more harmonious relationship. The more detail you can provide to the definition of your desired situation the more compelling and powerful it becomes. Through detailing the specific outcomes and their individual effects, a purposeful clarit