Changing behavior toward a target is one of the most important elements when trying to reach a goal – and this doesn’t only relate to weight. Making and holding onto small changes over time is more important than achieving the goal quickly and then losing it by falling back into old habits. Outlined below are some steps that can help you work towards change – in any area of your life.
Steps to change:
Determine exactly how you want to change. Be specific.
Monitor yourself: What are you actually doing? Document it. Awareness makes behaviour change easier.
Identify your pattern: Gain clarity. What impacts your success? Who are you around? What situations are you in? What time of day is it?
Dig deeper: What is the habit providing? Is it comfort or maybe easing nervousness? Are you avoiding something? How can you avoid the bad habit?
Distract yourself: Brainstorm things you can do instead such as reading, cleaning, exercise, or go for a walk.
Manage ‘triggers’: Get rid of bad habit triggers, for example keep indulgent foods out of the house. Create triggers for the new pattern such as setting reminders to check in with yourself on your phone or in your calendar. The behavior you are trying to create is not natural yet, so the brain requires regular reminders in the beginning.
Plan: Relying on determination alone sets us up for failure. Have a plan to help you along the way.
Change takes time: You won’t be perfect, that’s unrealistic. When it doesn’t work, assess why and what to do differently next time. Learn from it! (Just saying “I’ll do it differently next time” doesn’t work to change the brain!)
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