March 23, 2011

Ready, Willing and Able:
Ingredients for Change Motivation

By Tim Lochhead

In their book Motivational Interviewing, authors Miller and Rollnick provide three key elements that are required for change and/or motivation.

The purpose here is to identify and raise awareness for what these elements are.

Consistent with the “you are only as strong as your weakest link” methodology, you can be motivated to change if all three criteria are met.


This is the want or desire to change. It is not really the need itself, unless you perceive a need to meet a goal AND want it. Thus, you must see a discrepancy between your current state and the desired one. So, the desire and perceived importance of change are what matters.


This is not really whether someone is physically able to change, but whether they believe they can change. (Recall we are on a psychological trip here). Here’s a nice term: a belief in one’s abilities to do something is called self-efficacy.

Even if they want to, you can see why someone won’t change if they don’t believe they can.


This refers to your priorities.

You might think wanting and believing in yourself are enough, but you also have to want it now.

Prioritizing is normal of course; it’s a part of everyday life. So this aspect can be a matter of relative importance. This can be difficult to see especially when consequences to immediate actions are in the future. You might hear someone say “I’ll get to it tomorrow” and the like.

So if you want to initiate a change for your life, ask if you are ready, willing and able!