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Why behavior change is hard - and why you should keep trying - Harvard Health

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https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/why-behavior-change-is-hard-and-why-you-should-keep-trying

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Why behavior change is hard - and why you should keep trying - Harvard Health
Resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, especially when they're aimed at health behaviors such as losing weight, eating better, and exercising more. In fact, no matter when we decide to make a change - or how strongly we're motivated ...

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Successful behavior change

One potential problem when changing behaviors is that we're too often motivated by negatives such as guilt, fear, or regret.

  • Research found that long-lasting change in behavior is mo...

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Change is a process

... not an event. The transtheoretical model (TTM) presupposes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintena...

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Precontemplation

At this stage, you have no conscious intention of making a change. People in this stage tend to avoid reading, talking, or thinking about unhealthy behavior. However, their awareness and ...

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Contemplation

At this stage, you're aware that the behavior is a problem, but you still haven't committed to taking action.

To move on to the next stage, make a list of the pros and cons, then exami...

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Preparation

At this stage, you know you must change, you believe you can, and are making plans to do so soon. You've also taken some initial steps.

  • It is important to anticipate obstacles ...

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Action

At this stage, you've changed. You are able to face the challenges of life without the old behavior. For example, if stress tempts you to eat, you can use healthy coping strategies such a...

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Maintenance

Once you've practiced the new behavior for six months, you're in the maintenance stage.

Shift your focus to integrate the change into your life and prevent relapse. It may require othe...

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Relapse and recycling are common

The path between stages is seldom straightforward. Most people relapse at some point and recycle through one or more stages, though you usually won't go back to square one.

Every time ...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Pre-Contemplation

In this stage of change, individuals are aware of the behavioral change they desire; however, they have no conscious intention of altering their behavior. They may be strongly influence...

Contemplation

In this stage of change, an individual acknowledges the problem and begins an internal debate about pursuing change. A lot of time may be spent in this stage as many may not be ready to commit to changing.

People often get stuck in this stage going back and forth between measuring the benefits and costs of behavioral change. A thorough cost-benefit analysis followed by a troubleshooting session can be helpful here, especially if it is done in written form.

Preparation

In this stage of change, individuals commit to the intention of changing in the immediate future and have accepted the costs and benefits. What determines the success of an individual in this stage is their commitment to exploring, planning and insuring.

Set up contracts with yourself, by setting specific measurable goals, and detailing how you will accomplish the task at hand, including contingencies in order to stay on track. 

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The Stages of Change

  1. Precontemplation: Not ready. Not now.
  2. Contemplation: Maybe soon — thinking about it.
  3. Preparation: Ready, taking small steps.
  4. Action: ...

New Year Resolutions that Stick

Whether it is a resolution to lose weight, to do more exercise, or to consume less sugar, we all have encountered hardships trying to stick with them.

Health-related New Year Resolutions are ...

One Thing At A Time

Making resolutions requires no effort, but if we decide to suddenly shift towards improving too many of our behaviors at once, it can backfire.

Focus on one thing that you want to change, at a time, and commit to it.

What You Can Control

You may not be able to change the external circumstances, stressful situations, or work environment. What you can do is control how you react to negative forces and stressful situations.

For example: If you get unhealthy food at your home, you can control how or when you eat it.

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