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Creating Behavior That Lasts – Becoming the Person You Want to Be


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Prevent your triggers from controlling or ruining your life. Pause, think and change.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Famed executive coach Marshall Goldsmith presents a blueprint for achieving the most difficult thing any adult can do – changing your personal behavior. He and co-author Mark Reiter explain why your “environment” makes change so difficult. They warn of situations, events and people – even sounds – that can set you off, derail your efforts to change and cause reactions you come to regret. Negative behaviors can make you miserable. Few adults succeed in making significant behavioral change, but this manual describes how to do it by understanding your triggers and taking control of them. Filled with folk wisdom, this heartfelt guide – by the authors’ admission – states and restates the obvious to reinforce its lessons. You may have heard some of this advice before, but following it is what matters. getAbstract recommends this manual’s simple tools for successful personal change. It can help almost anyone who resolves to improve.


The Hardest Thing

You resolve to change; you might even take action, but only rarely do you make significant changes that stick. This proves especially true when the change also involves other people. As hard as it is to quit smoking, for example, the effort pales compared to changing things that aren’t fully in your control and require other people’s cooperation or assessment of your progress. Instead of committing to change, you continue your ways, regretting your weaknesses and lack of improvement. You make promises: I’ll be a better spouse, or I’ll build better relationships at work. But obstacles appear. People don’t meet you halfway or you face too much work. Stress and exhaustion wear down your resolve to ask about – let alone listen to – how your family members fared that day at work or school. You make excuses and let yourself off the hook.

Why People Rarely Change

People avoid change or fail to change due to deeply seated personal beliefs. You believe you know what to do and will do it, so who needs discipline, a plan or structure? You place false faith in your powers of resistance and put yourself in risky environments that tempt you. You believe...

About the Authors

Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith teaches at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business. His previous bestsellers, also co-authored by Mark Reiter, include What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Mojo.

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