Behavioural Change

Hey guys just a bit more information on behavioural change. In the month 1 article ‘First Steps From Sedentary Lifestyle To Exercise’ we discussed the Behaviour Change Model. It is worth reading before reading this article if you haven’t all ready done so. Change is good and change is definitely essential to life, so don’t be afraid to make a change!

So just a quick recap of the 5 main stages to refresh the old memory:

  1. Pre-contemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance

As members of fit body academy congratulations are in order (hopefully) as you should now be in stage 4. Three months in and you should be exercising regularly and motivation should be high. The action phase is when you are taking actions to help achieve the new behaviours. With regards to changing behaviour it is impossible without motivation to do so, your levels of motivation must be pretty good in order to make it to the 4th stage so that is superb! Higher levels of motivation mean you are the better at dealing with negative intrinsic and extrinsic factors. So confidence levels should also be high and hopefully after around 6 months of regular exercise you are then able to move into the maintenance phase, this means that you are maintaining your new behaviour, this can last for an unlimited period of time depending on motivation levels and other factors.

Sadly, this can sometimes be nearly as difficult as actually starting the change. It is crucial that you maintain motivation and still have a positive attitude to exercise; trying different things like boot camps, new recipes to help your diet and new exercises and classes in the gym can keep you motivated and avoid boredom.

The behaviour change model can have 2 extra phases which are negative.

Next stage is – a lapse – a lapse is a one-off lapse in the behaviour

The final stage is – a re-lapse – a re-lapse is when you have multiple lapses

The trick, when introducing a new behaviour, is to set goals and take action as soon as possible. Write a list of what needs to happen to allow the behaviour to flow into your life.  Sometimes it is our environment logistics which can slow down making change. For example if you want to eat healthily but are having your kitchen re-fitted, logistically its going to be a real challenge. Conversely, when you spot a lapse in your behaviour, re-visit your initial goal sheets asap, it will help remind you of why you are doing it. It is important that your goal sheet, as discussed in earlier articles, are ever changing. New short term goals every so often will keep up levels of motivation. If the aim was to be regularly exercising for 6 months, and this has been achieved, you could think what now? That’s why new goals can be crucial by giving you something new to aim for again. This will increase your chances of maintaining your behaviour and decreasing your chances of multiple lapses.

We usually want to make the change but just find it difficult to get going or keep going. It takes a lot of effort to move into the maintenance phase so just remember if you are strong enough to do that you are strong enough to keep going!

I hope this sheds some light on a very deep and complicated area of psychology – human behavioural change.

Hopefully this will come in handy to help you overcome your resistance to any positive change.


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