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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

5 Questions that Inspire Action

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

change or chance

How do you and the audiences you serve view life – as the unfolding of events that happen by chance – or as a process of self-directed actions taken to meet personal goals?

The first view takes the perspective of a victim and the second the perspective of a victor. A victor welcomes change, is empowered to change, and is not defeated by minor setbacks or obstacles to change.

Our goal is to inspire action

When we communicate with audiences about nutrition and health, our ultimate purpose goes beyond informing and educating. We strive to promote positive behaviors – putting knowledge into practice. Audiences are inspired to action when they are able to implement knowledge to solve problems and achieve goals.

Nutrition communicators can provide evidence-based options for implementing change but it is up to the audience to determine which options meet their needs and fit their lifestyle, values, and goals.

To assist your audience members in successfully achieving behavior change, provide them with these tools for setting goals and selecting action steps to achieve the changes they desire. Download: 5 Questions to Inspire Your Audience to Action and the Worksheet: Action Plan for Change.

5 Questions to Inspire Your Audience to Action

Inspire your audiences to take action by having them ask themselves these 5 questions:

Question #1 Where am I now and where do I want to go?

To accomplish positive change we must begin by assessing where we are now and deciding we don’t want to stay there. With practical and realistic optimism we determine where we want to go and commit to taking aspirational yet achievable steps to meet our goal.

The distance between our current situation and final goal will determine the number and size of our steps.

Question #2 Why do I want to take action?

People accomplish goals that solve problems and match personal desires, values, and beliefs. Make a list of reasons for taking action. What is the why behind your goal?

When the benefits of change outweigh the costs, taking action is easier and faces less resistance. The more important the goal, the greater the likelihood of reaching it.

Question #3 What needs to change?

If nothing changes, we stay where we started. To reach the desired destination will require change. What needs to be different?

Make a list of potential action steps and determine which ones fulfill these criteria: 1) they are meaningful, in other words, you want to do them; 2) they are easily implemented in your life; and 3) they can be sustained over time.

Question #4 Who can help?

Identify a support system of people who will encourage rather than undermine efforts for change. This can include an accountability group, a mentor, a family member, or a friend.

Supporters serve as sounding boards for ideas, frustrations, and questions. They believe in you when you’re discouraged or progress is slow. Supporters promote a positive mindset.

Question #5 When will I take steps toward my goal?

Taking action requires more than goals and action steps. It requires a plan with a timeline for taking action. It needs a system for monitoring progress. It needs ongoing evaluation to recognize both achievements and setbacks.

When progress is thwarted, it acknowledges the need to modify approaches for greater success. When progress is accomplished, it celebrates.

For a free downloadable copy of this tip sheet and the Action Plan for Change worksheet with space to answer the 5 questions, visit the Tips Page. Inspire change, not chance.

“People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.” ~ Peter Senge, PhD, Director, Center for Organizational Learning MIT Sloan School of Management

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