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The ADKAR Model in a Personal Change

The ADKAR Model in a Personal Change


To help build a clearer understanding of the model and how to apply it, think about a change you want to make in your personal life. A good example is adding a regular exercise regimen; a change many people attempt but struggle to sustain over time. Now let’s apply the ADKAR model:

Awareness: are you aware of the need to exercise? Articles or TV reports that describe the health benefits of regular exercise may build awareness.

Desire: do you have the personal motivation to start exercising? Awareness will not be enough to make the change. You will need to make a personal decision to engage in this change based on your own unique motivations.

Knowledge: do you know how to effectively and safely exercise? To gain knowledge, you might hire a personal trainer, attend an exercise class or order a workout video. In order to effectively change, you need to know how.

Ability: can you put your knowledge into practice? Knowing how to do something and being able to it are very different. You may need to rearrange other commitments to make time for new behaviors, and you might consider working one-on-one with a coach or personal trainer to develop your new skills.

Reinforcement: do you have reinforcements in place to prevent you from reverting to your old habits? Perhaps you have a reward system for yourself when you hit certain exercise milestones. Or you might have a workout buddy who holds you accountable for showing up to the gym.


Using exercise as our example, it is easy to see how change occurs on a personal level. Now let’s consider how this framework applies to employees during a change process.

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