5 Questions You Need To Make The Change You Want
Image by Casey Horner

When it comes to change and solving our own challenges, there are two big enemies: ambiguity and the status quo.


Charles Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. He was the head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. He’s often quoted:

A problem well stated is half solved.

If the change we’re trying to make is poorly defined, misunderstood or lacking in clarity of consequences, it can feel difficult to solve or perhaps not even worth solving at all.

The status quo

The status quo is another enemy because it’s known. We crave certainty as humans and avoid the discomfort of the unknown.

As the old adage goes:

Better the devil we know.

Making a decision

But there is another adage I regularly reflect on:

Many a false step was taken standing still.

So how do we know if we need to take a step or stay put?

We need to create the argument, the value proposition, the business case for ourselves to see if or how we need to embark on this change.

We need to get clear on what we want, where we are and what’s holding us back so we can understand what we need right now.

And not just so we get started.

We need the case to be clear enough and compelling enough that we’ll start then hold the course and do the reps to make it happen.

Here are the questions I use to build that case.

5 Questions

The quick version is these 5 questions:

  1. Why now?
  2. What results are you chasing?
  3. What is the reality of where you are right now compared to those results?
  4. What are the roadblocks that are getting in the way of making them happen?
  5. Is this a sooner or a later thing?

Working through these five questions can help to clarify whether this is a challenge you want to or need to solve.

If you’d like to go deeper though, I set up a more detailed approach below to make the value proposition even clearer and more compelling.

Deep version

Why now?

  • Has there been a specific event that has triggered the desire for change?
  • Or has it been the gradual build up of a particular set of factors that has made you want to make a change?
  • What have you already tried to make this change? (eg courses, programs, retreats, DIY, specialists)
  • What has worked? What hasn’t?
  • Why haven’t you already made the change you want? Why didn’t you do it last week, last month, last year?
  • Why does now seem like the time to truly commit?

Results, Reality, Roadblocks

What results are you chasing? What outcomes? What would it mean to you if these were accomplished? What is the reality of where you are now compared to those desired results? What are the roadblocks that are getting in the way or holding you back?
(Family, Parenting, Partner, Colleagues, other)
(Sleep, Weight, Food, Drink, Exercise, other)


  • 12 months from now, if you could envision a dream scenario for this all playing out, how would that look? Where would you be? What would you be doing differently?


  • Have you completed any recent, relevant assessments? (eg profiling, fitness testing, feedback)


  • Do you have a plan to make the change happen? (eg goals, actions)
  • How frequently will you adapt your plan? (eg daily, weekly, quarterly, annual)

Systems and Structure

  • How will you manage your time to solve this? (eg paper, digital diary)
  • How will you manage your workflow to solve this? (eg to do lists, tasks, projects, tools)
  • How will you monitor progress? (eg wearable tech, scales, reporting)

Accountability and Support

  • Who can help to support you and hold you accountable through the process? (eg friends, family, specialists, team mates, coaches, advisors, mentors, manager, boss, board)

Benefits and consequences

  • What are the short term benefits of continuing as you are? (NB: regardless of whether we like it or not, there are always short term benefits eg sticking with what we know, avoiding difficult conversations etc.)
  • What will be the long term costs of continuing as you are?
  • What are the short term pains of making the change?
  • What are the long term benefits of making the change?


  • Is this a sooner or a later thing?

Armed with clear and compelling value proposition for your change is the leap-off point to start and ultimately make it stick.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

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