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The steps to Changing Behavior



We have all set our goals for the new year and have either written them down or thought some time on how we can achieve the goals we have set. Setting goals is a great first step into a new year and becoming your best self.


Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guide your focus, and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can't manage what you don't measure and you can't improve upon something that you don't properly manage.


Goals are our way of thriving here on earth, but its easier said than done.. We can set all out goals, but sometimes is hard to know when to make that next step and exactly how to execute that goal.


I wanted to begin to chat about changing our behavior and the step it takes to be successful. Behavior change is one of my favorite things to study. it complex as our minds gravitate towards stability and the known. Change in the present can be a bit intimination. Ovour our lifetime, we create many habits that become habitual. Its like brushing your teeth before bed. If you missed one night, you feel off and maybe even a bit uneasy.


I want to recommend the most comprehensive guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day: #1 New York Times bestselling book Atomic Habits. This book encapsulates the essence of changing all the good and bad habits we become very close to. it evokes a thoughtful reading experience and initiates a drive to find change more exhilarating than intimidating.



Now before we get into behavior change, we must understand habits and what they are.

Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.


What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything I write about – from procrastination and productivity to strength and nutrition – starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.


thepositivepsychologypeople.com is one of my favorite resources to evoke your deep thoughts and make you understand your mind more. They did a great job encapsulating habits...


Habits are those rituals and behaviors that we perform automatically, allowing us to carry out essential activities such as brushing our teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed for work, and following the same routes every day without thinking about them. Our unconscious habits free up resources for our brains to carry out other more complex tasks like solving problems or deciding certain tasks like what to make for dinner.

We all have habits and we activate hundreds every day. These habits can be divided into three groups.


#1- The habits that we simply don’t notice because they have been part of our lives forever—like tying shoelaces or brushing our teeth. 



#2- Habits that are good for us and which we work hard on establishing—like exercising, eating well, or getting enough sleep. 



#3- The habits that are bad for us—like smoking, procrastinating, or overspending. 


But then you wonder where these habits are stored in your mind.. how the brain regulates and creates them..

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I'm going to get a bit scientific here.


Scientists have learned that a certain part of the brain called the basal ganglia plays a crucial role in creating new habits and maintaining existing ones, leading researchers to an understanding of why some people, even after major brain damage, will still do certain things they’ve always done before, like find their way home without any conscious previous recollection of where they are going. These people often don’t even know how or why they can still do certain things, but if the basal ganglia are intact, those old habits are still available. The latest research also shows that habits are so ingrained in our brains that we keep acting in accordance with them even when we no longer benefit from them.


To emphasize again, over 40% of what we do is determined not by decisions but by habits. This suggests that we can change a huge part of our lives just by eliminating bad habits and creating good ones instead. People who fully understand this have been able to find wonderful new ways to change their lives for the better.


So we know about habits, and they are a huge factor in achieving our goals because persistence is key here. To achieve a set goal, we must form a habit, or break an old one and create a new pathway in our mind. This is where we begin to approach behavior change.


Changing behavior can be difficult, but it is possible with the right mindset and approach. In this script, we'll explore the psychological process of behavior change and provide tips on how to change behaviors.


First, let's understand the psychological process of behavior change. Sure, changing behavior can be a complex process and there are many different theories and approaches to consider. However, one of the most well-known models for understanding and changing behavior is the Transtheoretical Model (TTM), also known as the stages of change model.

The TTM posits that individuals go through five distinct stages when trying to change a behavior:

  1. Precontemplation: In this stage, individuals are not aware of the problem or do not see the need to change their behavior. They may be in denial or lack the motivation to change.

  2. Contemplation: In this stage, individuals are aware of the problem and are considering a change. They may be weighing the pros and cons of changing their behavior and are uncertain about whether or not to make a change.

  3. Preparation: In this stage, individuals are ready to take action and make a change. They may have set specific, measurable, and achievable goals, and have a plan of action in place.

  4. Action: In this stage, individuals actively make a change in their behavior. They may be implementing strategies and techniques to help them achieve their goals.

  5. Maintenance: In this stage, individuals maintain the change in behavior over time. They may be continuing to use strategies to prevent relapse and sustain their new behavior.


 


Now that we understand the stages of change, let's discuss some tips on how to change behaviors.

  1. Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals.

  2. Create a plan of action and stick to it.

  3. Identify and overcome any barriers that may prevent you from achieving your goals.

  4. Seek support from friends, family, or a professional.

  5. Reward yourself for reaching milestones and accomplishments.

Remember, changing behavior takes time and effort, but it is possible with the right mindset and approach. Keep pushing forward and stay committed to your goals."


It's important to note that people may move back and forth between the different stages and may not progress through them in a linear manner.


To change habits and reach personal goals, it's essential to identify the stage you are in, set specific and achievable goals, create a plan of action and stick to it, overcomes any barriers that may prevent you from achieving your goals, seeks support from friends, family, or a professional, and reward yourself for reaching milestones and accomplishments.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective approaches for changing behavior and habits. CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are maintaining the problem behavior. It is a goal-oriented and action-focused approach that helps people to identify their goals, develop strategies to achieve them, and monitor progress.

In addition, mindfulness-based techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and tai chi can also be helpful in changing habits and reaching personal goals. These techniques can help individuals to be more present and aware of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, which can help them to make positive changes.


Overall, changing behavior and habits is a complex process that requires effort, commitment, and the right mindset. Remember that it takes time and that it is ok to slip up or fail at times, the key is to learn from those experiences and to keep pushing forward.


Behavior change can improve the chances of achieving set goals and personal autonomy in several ways.


First, by changing behavior, individuals are able to take more control over their actions and make choices that align with their goals and values. This can increase feelings of self-efficacy and personal agency, which can lead to greater autonomy and empowerment.


Second, when individuals set specific, measurable, and achievable goals, it can help them to focus their efforts and stay motivated to change their behavior. The process of setting goals can also help individuals to identify the specific actions and steps they need to take in order to achieve their desired outcome.


Third, by creating a plan of action and sticking to it, individuals are more likely to achieve their goals. A plan of action provides a roadmap for behavior change and helps individuals to stay on track and make progress towards their goals.


Fourth, overcoming barriers that may prevent individuals from achieving their goals can help them to make progress toward their goals and increase their autonomy. For example, if an individual wants to change a behavior but struggles with procrastination, identifying and addressing this barrier can help them to make progress toward their goal.


Finally, seeking support from friends, family, or a professional can also help individuals to achieve their goals and increase their autonomy. Support can provide encouragement, accountability, and a sounding board for ideas and strategies for change.


In summary, behavior change can improve the chances of achieving set goals and personal autonomy by increasing feelings of self-efficacy and personal agency, setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals, creating a plan of action, overcoming barriers, and seeking support.


Working towards achieving set goals and using behavior change to become your best self is a worthwhile and rewarding journey. It takes effort, commitment, and the right mindset to change our behavior, but with the right approach, we can make progress toward our goals and improve our lives. Remember that it is okay to slip up or fail at times, the key is to learn from those experiences and to keep pushing forward. Keep in mind the importance of setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals, creating a plan of action, overcoming barriers, seeking support, and rewarding yourself for reaching milestones and accomplishments. With consistency and perseverance, we can all achieve our personal goals and become our best selves.


With that, we hope you have a great week and as always,

Be Kind, Do Fearless


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