9 October, 2017

Changing Behaviour One Small Step at a Time

As we all know, many health problems are caused or exacerbated by poor lifestyle. We mostly recognise where we go wrong, but struggle to make the changes required to improve our health. How do we undo the bad behaviours and replace them with better ones, making them a natural part of our day to day lives?

Not surprisingly, research has shown that change occurs more successfully when the targeted behaviour is much smaller and easier to adopt, requiring only a small amount of motivation for that change to occur. Overambitious targets are destined to fail, so baby steps are the best way to begin.

Furthermore, it helps to have a regular trigger, to remind us to carry out the new behaviour as a part of our daily or weekly routine. The best trigger is an existing regular behaviour that is already part of your life. That is, introduce the new behaviour by tacking it on to something you already do regularly.

For example: if an increase in water intake is the goal, place a mug at your desk at work and commit to filling and consuming that one cup when switching on your computer on arrival each morning.

The key to behaviour change is to NOT rely on motivation, but rather make very small seemingly natural changes. Once these become habits, take another small step. Many small changes equate to significant impact, one small step at a time.