Lupe CamargoBuilding a foundation for a strong financial life begins with good habits. But what if you don’t have those habits, despite all the efforts to fully fund that 401K, grow that rainy day fund, or become debt free? With almost half the year behind us, how many are disappointed that the New Year’s resolutions lost steam along the way? How can you influence change for personal success?

The authors of Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success offer ways to change our unproductive behavior cycles. Based upon research in a number of psychological and medical fields, they show that traditional will-power is not necessarily the answer and that people are often affected in their behaviors by more subtle influences.

If we’re blind to what influences our choices, we have unseen forces working against us as we strive to move forward. Identifying and understanding those forces can help us turn the tables.

For change to occur, we need both the motivation and the ability to create it. Motivation and ability need to be applied to each of the following three categories (which, according to the authors, creates six sources of influence that drive our behaviors to either change or resist change):

  • Personal: what you do to change (or what you avoid)
  • Social: others who help or hinder your change
  • Structural: elements of your environment that can influence or block change

The authors of Change Anything suggest you design a plan that is adjusted to fit your personality, your situation, your weaknesses and your tendencies. Become a social scientist. Study yourself as the subject, and experiment with what works. Make it homegrown. You know you best.