According to the article “Stress and the Decision to Change Oneself” in a 1994 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly, there are six factors that significantly improve a person’s chances of making a change in his life:
1) A stressor disrupts or threatens to disrupt a valued role-identity, 2) one attributes responsibility for the stressor to an aspect of self that one believes can be changed, 3) one has access to structural supports for self-change, 4) one believes that one can effect self-change, 5) the perceived benefits of self-change outweigh the perceived costs, and 6)others provide social support for self-change.
Since this quote is from a professional journal article and not written in Unclutterer-speak, let me rework it without the jargon:
- You don’t like how you’re behaving.
- You know you are responsible for making the change; no one else can do it for you.
- You have access to information that can help you change.
- You believe you can change.
- You believe making the change is worth it.
- Your friends and family support your change.
Thinking about my transformation from a clutter bug into an unclutterer, I realize that all six of these factors were present. I was stressed out and overwhelmed all the time and I hated it. I knew I needed to sort through my stuff and that I would be upset if someone else just dumped it. I did research to find out how to unclutter my life (if only Unclutterer.com would have been around back then, this would have been a much easier process). I varied my intensity, but most days I believed I could change how I was living. I also believed that making the change would help my marriage, friendships, stress levels, and time management issues. And, everyone around me was willing to lend a hand if I would have asked for it.
If you’re having difficulties on your path to becoming an unclutterer, is it because you’re missing one of these six factors? What is keeping you from changing? Do you agree with this list? Share your views in the comments.