The 3 Keys You Need to Know for Lasting Personal Change



“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.” — J. Paul Getty

How do you make a change that sticks?  It’s one thing to temporally change, but how do you make a lasting change?

I was listening to a Personal Power II, where Tony Robbins explains the keys to lasting change.  Robbins studied and compared different approaches to change, including NLP, Gestalt Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy, and various forms of counseling.   He concluded that they all can work.  They work when your neuro associations change.

Robbins wanted to speed up change and make it last.  That’s how he found the underlying patterns for long-lasting change.  Here are the three keys to lasting change:

  1. Get leverage.  You have to believe that something *MUST* change.  You need to believe you *can* change it.  You have to believe that it must change *now.*
  2. Interrupt the current limiting association.  You have to interrupt the pattern or habit *when* it’s happening.  The idea is to “scribble across the record” so it will no longer affect you the same way.  For example, when the fear, phobia, or force of habit is triggered, that’s exactly the right time to interrupt it.
  3. Condition yourself to the new empowering association.  For example, you can link laughter to the situation.  You need to re-enforce the new association and behavior.

The “ah-ha” part of any breakthrough is the neuro-association change.  It’s the new meaning you assign to something.  All change is about changing either your perception or your behavior.   When you make new meaning, you change your behavior.  Or, alternatively, when you change your behavior, you make new meaning.

The conditioning part is key.   Rather than a program you run once, you condition your success.  You don’t comb your hair once, brush your teeth once, or workout once and then you’re set for life.  Instead, you build a habit, and learn to love the conditioning.  If you’ve ever fallen into your old pattern or habit, it’s likely you are using your old frame of reference, and running your old pattern.

Another insight is that the gain has to outweigh the pain.   If you’re resisting the change, it’s because you’re still associating more pain to the change, than not changing.  The challenge is, you may not be consciously aware of the underlying reason.

If you have a habit or change you want to make, ask yourself how you can apply the three keys to lasting change.

Photo by lululemon ahtletica.


  1. Yes! Idea vs. Action. Good intentions vs. Genuine Success.

    One can’t merely smile-&-nod at notions which sound like good ideas. Instead, discrete, concrete action must first be taken for change to begin. This step, albeit an important one, must then be reiterated for lasting change.

  2. Hi JD, I think sometimes step 1 and step 2 can be reversed. And sometimes I think we can start with curiosity and find ou how much we can change

  3. @ Jimmy — It’s the idea of conditioning that really sticks for me. I know with some things I made the mistake of thinking they were a one time effort, when in fact, they really needed ongoing practice, habits, and reminders.

    @ Evan — I agree. A “wondering” mind is a powerful thing. There’s science behind it too, with some very interesting studies. Apparently, there is a world of difference between, “I will …” and “Will I …?”

  4. Hey JD,

    I’m actually going through Tony’s Personal Power and Get the Edge audios right now.
    What you’ve shared his is pure GOLD.

    Thanks for the share!


  5. JD, I spend my time finding ways to help people stop smoking. I believe that their beliefs, attitudes and expectations will define how easy or tough it will be. As we’ve all heard, most find it difficult.

    I’ve been searching for a method I could teach that will change their perceptions about quitting (loss, i.e.) and thus make the quit easy and enjoyable. You’ve reminded me in this post of some of Tony’s techniques and put me on a path of discovery–thanks!

  6. Hello! I really love your article! I totally acquiesce with this statement : “All change is about changing either your perception or your behavior. When you make new meaning, you change your behavior. Or, alternatively, when you change your behavior, you make new meaning.”

    If you’re eager to have a long lasting change, engage with NLP.
    Do you agree?

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