A recent inservice with our Allied Health team reminded me just how difficult it can be to effectively change our behaviour.
Our daily lives are filled with patterns and routines. What time we get up, the breakfast routine we have, where we get our coffee and whether we exercise in the morning or not are all examples of different behaviours we have built into our day. Some are deeply engrained habits, whilst others might be more spontaneous in nature.
As health care providers, we are often asking our clients to change their behaviour in some way.
Sit less, walk more, run less, stretch more, perform these exercises, snack better.
The list goes on. We know we can be pushy buggers!
When it comes to changing health behaviours, we know it’s not easy! Directing our clients to follow a particular plan or just telling people what to do may not be successful in the long term.
Did you know that any time we make a decision; we go through a series of steps before we decide whether a course of action is worth our time?
Knowledge: Do we understand what’s going on and why a particular behavior may be good for us specifically? Do we understand the plan and how long things might take to change?
Motivation: Are we motivated and ready to make the desired changes?
Commitment: Do we have a sense of commitment to making the changes required? Are we ready to take on board advice and slowly build in new habits?
If knowledge, motivation or commitment levels are low, the likelihood of being able to make positive and SUSTAINABLE changes are low too. Therefore, in order to achieve a desired level of fitness, strength or wellness, the first step needed is to establish adequate knowledge, motivation and commitment about the path you wish to take.
Once you have made a decision to change… GREAT!
This is when making a good plan of attack is useful. Starting with small doses and building up gradually is the most successful approach.
So in summary, change is hard. We need knowledge, motivation, commitment and a good plan to have a good chance of making behavior changes stick!