I’m a Type A person, so I enjoy being organized and planning things out; behavior changes are no exception. Part of the reason that behavior changes aren’t successful is that people don’t necessary understand the “why’s” behind their current behaviors. We do what we do for a reason, and it’s important to understand that reason. This idea goes back to the phrase “You can’t change what you don’t know”. So before you rush into changing a behavior (or maybe while you’re rushing if you’ve already started), start figuring out the whys behind what you have been doing. Here are a few steps that may be helpful for you to take!
- Track your current behavior each day: Did you engage in the behavior? Why or why not? Determining the “why” will help you figure out what helps you to be successful! Setting up a chart to include time of day, situation, thoughts, etc… might be helpful at this stage.
- Track the excuses that you use to avoid doing the healthy behavior! Again, how can you fight against something that you don’t know? Most of us are excellent at making excuses, and these excuses make it much more difficult to do the behavior (think talking yourself out of a workout or convincing yourself that you DESERVE that 32 ounce soda). Tracking excuses will allow you to alter your language and come up with phrases to help you fight the excuses.
- Come up with new language to use when discussing the behavior. Again, replace the excuses with other positive statements (I might want to watch 10 hours of TV today but I don’t need to watch it, I don’t have to eat that salad with dinner but I’m choosing to because I’m choosing to be healthy.) Do you see what I mean?
- Find support from others for your desired behavior change. In person friends, family members, co-workers, or a counselor can be incredibly important! Finding friends online through different groups and twitter chats (i.e., #runchat, #sweatpink) can also be incredibly important! Not only will you learn quite a bit about your desired behaviors, but you’ll find a group of cheerleaders and people to keep you accountable. It’s fantastic! We aren’t meant to do life alone!
Before you make behavioral changes (or if you’re in the process of trying to but not having much success), track your current behavior, language, and excuses. This will give you a world of insight and help you to better structure your behavior change to what is currently going on in your life!
Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one of your frequent excuses that you use? Who’s one of your biggest healthy living supporters?