Six sources of influence that affect people as they try to change their habits. They also identify change tactics that can help counteract each of these influences. People who follow these steps and align sources of influence in their favor are more likely to achieve personal success.

1. Personal motivation. Although personal impulses can be compelling, it is possible to interrupt these impulses by connecting with personal goals during crucial moments.

2. Personal ability. A proven way to change habits is to enhance personal ability and to learn new skills.

3. Social motivation. There is a clear social component to bad habits. When friends encourage bad behavior and also engage in it, this is very difficult to resist. If individuals can transform “accomplices” into “friends” who encourage good behavior, they are more likely to change their habits.

4. Social ability. To change longstanding habits, people usually need support from other people. Individuals who get a life coach or mentor are often more successful at changing behaviors.

5. Structural motivation. People who connect short-term rewards or punishments to new habits are usually more likely to adopt those new habits.

6. Structural ability. Researchers have found that minor environmental changes can have a significant effect on a person’s choices. Individuals experience faster behavior changes when they add visual cues to help them focus on their goals.

By understanding these influences, it is possible for people to consciously design change plans that address them. The authors discovered that individuals who incorporate the six sources of influence into their change plans are ten times more likely to succeed than people who do not take this approach.

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