Mindful Living

Everything You Need To Know About Behaviour Change

Written By: Kripa Jalan

Everything You Need To Know About Behaviour Change

Have you ever felt like your brain is split into two?

Like a part of you wants to change and another part of you doesn’t.

The truth is that changing a behaviour isn’t easy. 

What is behaviour change?

In its simplest form, behaviour change is the process of breaking old habits, and successfully forming new ones. 

Why do people change?

People change when there is an emotionally compelling reason to do so. It rarely emerges from rationality alone. If it did, none of us would smoke cigarettes and none of us would text while driving.

But, why is change so hard?

We’re creatures of habit. We fall into patterns. Over time, each of use settles into our routines. With time, this equilibrium is wired into our systems – so much so, that it becomes invisible. 

Our environmental forces, genetic makeup, and even tracking abilities interact with each other to shape our day, but we seldom notice how they mold our behaviors.

That is until we try to make a change.

Change often registers as unnatural with one’s mind – which often prefers to take the path of least resistance. The more we try to change, the harder, the more overwhelming it will be to implement. 

On the surface, setting big aspirational goals sounds inspiring. However, they contradict these stabilizing forces in our lives.

Therefore, the best way to achieve a new level of equilibrium is not with monumental change, but through small wins each day.

Plus, a person doesn’t typically wake up one day and decide to change a behaviour and maintain it for decades on. 

We move through stages:

  1. Precontemplation. We’re either unaware or in denial that a change is necessary or warranted. 
  2. Contemplation. We’re aware that a change needs to be made, but have mixed feelings about making the change. 
  3. Preparation. We want to make a behaviour change within the next month and are considering how we can do it.
  4. Action. The hardest stage that requires us to exert physical energy. The stages before required mental energy 
  5. Maintenance. This is where the change is sustained for 6 months.

And, we don’t necessarily move linearly through the stages of change! It’s completely normal for us to jump back and forth. 

Here’s the thing - change NEVER HAPPENS OVERNIGHT. AND IT’S ACTUALLY SO RELIEVING. Because it helps you remove the pressure from yourself. Instead of thinking about the finish line at the 42km mark, you begin to think about the first hurdle in front of you.

When your car runs out of fuel, do you throw your hands up and say “I can’t use my car again!” Probably not.

Likewise, through your wellness journey, if you have a misstep - don’t beat yourself up over it. Humanize your action. Accept that things will not always go according to plan. AND THAT’S PERFECTLY FINE. Try and understand why it happened. And move on.

Perfection, or some idolized way of eating/living/moving IS NOT REAL LIFE. 

Want to discover simple yet effective tools you can start using to make long-lasting changes, find balance with your food choices today, and develop a positive relationship with food and your body? We can help!