How Often Is Succeeding a Personal Transformation Really Possible?

Did you know that only 11-18% of all couples therapy achieves any long-term success? I find that staggering. The statistic for organizational change isn’t much better. Rick Maurer, author of Behind the Wall of Resistance, says, “In fact, according to research by McKinsey & Company, about 70% of all changes in all organizations fail.”

What does this mean for those of us who are committed to succeeding at personal transformation? Are we doomed to fail? Should we expect equally disappointing results?

My personal mission is targeted toward growth and change; so I want to understand how change works, how it succeeds and why it sometimes fails. Research reveals the following trends about why most people don’t succeed in creating positive change in their lives and how to improve their odds:

time succeeding at personal transformation1. Lack of Persistence: A tendency to “bail out” early, not wanting to put in consistent effort and worrying that prolonged effort won’t pay off.

Beth Kuhel, MBA, recognizes that our society’s culture of instant gratification makes striving for long-term goals in personal and professional relationships difficult. However, Kuhel explains, “A person benefits from adopting the philosophy that the only thing we can be certain we can control is one’s effort but the outcome isn’t in our control at all. This may explain why success that’s delayed brings deeper satisfaction than those things that come to us quickly.”

Solution: Be willing to contribute time and dedication. Practice good behaviors that move you toward change, and do it repeatedly.

10 succeeding at personal transformation2. Fear of Success: An unconscious habit of sabotaging your own potential achievements, often because failure feels familiar while change is new and scary.

Kevin Currie, former executive turned personal and professional life coach says, “People fear success for many reasons. This fear is largely unconscious – you don’t even know it’s there.”

He adds, “Success, by definition, exposes you to new and unfamiliar situations which may make you uncomfortable and ill at ease.”

Solution: Drop your mental barriers and believe success will be possible. While change might involve something unfamiliar, that unfamiliar feeling will be something like joy or fulfillment.

043015 succeeding at personal transformation3. Feeling of Unworthiness: Limiting yourself based on past failures because of a deep belief in being a perpetual disappointment, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Debbi Carberry, accredited mental health social worker in Australia, explains, “If you have a deep seated belief that you are not worthy then most likely you we (sic) will feel like you don’t deserve success or happiness.”

Solution: Know that you can change. You don’t have to be who you were yesterday. Acknowledge past mistakes, and move forward. Know we are all worthy of success if we are willing to try.

If you want to transform your own life, ditch the fear and feelings of unworthiness. Connect to your inner drive and determination. Allow yourself to experience the unfamiliar practice of change, success and joy. Reignite your sense of purpose, and rewire your sense of self. You can move quickly or slowly, but as long as you’re going forward toward positive self-transformation, you’re in the right lane.


Rose Caiola

Inspired. Rewired.

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