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Start, Stop, Continue Methodology of Change

Today, I want to dive into the “start, stop, continue” methodology of change, a concept that has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. It’s all about self-awareness, and as my friend and fellow coach Ariel Kopac emphasizes, awareness is the first step.

When you become aware of your actions, behaviors, and thought patterns, the next crucial step is deciding what to do with that information. This process has been invaluable to me in formatting workshops and getting the most out of books, which I often use as a foundation for my content.

Let’s talk about why the “start, stop, continue” method is effective, and I call it the “triple D effect” – Data-Driven Decisions.

As humans, we often make decisions and then seek information to support those decisions or compare ourselves to others without having all the facts. This comparison bias can be a stumbling block in our personal and professional growth.

In my book, I discuss the OODA loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act – developed during the Korean War for fighter pilots in dogfights. To observe effectively, we must first take a good look at ourselves, examining our behaviors and identifying what serves us and what doesn’t.

This method is simple but powerful. You can assess all your daily behaviors, activities, and thoughts and categorize them: start, stop, or continue. If something is not serving you, it’s time to stop it. If it’s beneficial, continue. And don’t forget to explore what you want to start doing – the activities you daydream about, the ones that resonate with your true desires.

Here’s a real-life example: I recently had a conversation with a lawyer who wanted to hire someone early next year. She was overwhelmed by her workload and was preparing herself mentally. I challenged her to create a SMART goal – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound – and write it down.

Having a visual representation of your goal, like a whiteboard, is essential. It’s a constant reminder that keeps you on track. Then, categorize your tasks – continue what serves your goal, start new activities that align with it, and stop what you can delegate, teach someone else, automate, or eliminate.

This approach isn’t just about business; it applies to your life and relationships. Identify who fulfills you and who doesn’t, and make the necessary changes. It’s about optimizing your actions and your thoughts to become the person you want to be.

Now, let’s talk about the power of words. Words can inspire or limit you. What words do you use? What thoughts push you forward, and which ones hold you back? Recognize the baggage you carry – the limiting beliefs and self-doubt – and consciously choose to let them go.

In my own journey, I spent years running away from my entrepreneurial calling because I convinced myself I wasn’t good enough, didn’t have the resources, or needed a business partner. It wasn’t until I started questioning my own thoughts and actions that I made the change.

The key to this methodology is simple – constantly evaluate your actions, words, and thoughts. When you identify what doesn’t serve you, make a conscious decision to stop it. The more you do this, the less you’ll engage in unproductive behaviors.

In my book, I have an “anti-glossary” section that focuses on eliminating words that don’t serve us. It’s important to recognize that stopping unproductive behaviors is often easier than starting new ones. It doesn’t require resources or time – it just takes the willingness to change.

The sandwich method can be particularly helpful for those moments when you want to stop something. Instead of feeling guilt or shame, sandwich that decision with starting something new and continuing something positive. Continue to be honest with yourself, show gratitude, and give yourself the grace to grow.

So, I challenge you to pick an area of your life that you love and focus on what you’ll continue doing. Find another area that’s not serving you and make a plan to stop those unproductive behaviors. With the extra time and energy you’ll gain, dream, hope, and take action on the things that truly matter.

Remember, you have the power to choose how you think and act. Don’t compare yourself to others; focus on your unique journey. Let your thoughts, words, and actions align with the person you want to become. It’s a journey, and it starts with a simple question: Does this serve me? If the answer is no, it’s time to make a change. Start, stop, continue – it’s that simple.

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Andy Weins

Andy Weins is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, Veteran of the U.S. Army, and speaker. Through consulting, teaching, podcasting, and writing, he is an enthusiastic supporter of Veterans, entrepreneurs, community engagement, individual empowerment, and the environment.

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