Every day, we are faced with opportunities to learn or just notice. I was recently speaking with a client; talking about how many times some people must go through the same thing over and over again before they really learn. And sometimes even then they don’t learn. The difference between learning and noticing comes in your willingness and ability to change a behavior.

Many people notice things about themselves, but fail to make significant change. With adults, learning only takes place when we are willing to endure the discomfort of change long enough to actually make a change sustainable. You may notice that cigarettes cause cancer, but you haven’t really learned it until you quit. You may notice that turnover is high in your department, but you haven’t really learned how damaging it is until you do something to stop it or slow it down.

We humans love comfort. That is the good news and the bad news. Comfort feels good, but it is the enemy of change and learning. Here are some thoughts about how to really learn and not just notice:

1. Identify a specific behavior you would like to change. That behavior should be observable and measurable. For instance, ‘I want to get in better shape’ is not observable and measurable by itself. ‘I am going to work out three days a week for 2 hours’ is measurable, and the result I want is to get in shape.
2. Find a person that you know will hold you accountable. Nothing will drive learning and change faster than accountability. Meet with them every two weeks to track your progress.
3. Celebrate small wins. The change will come faster and have truly lasting effects when you find ways to encourage yourself.