How to Change Your Behavior in 3 Easy Steps: Finally Celebrate the Change!
There are at least three ways to celebrate your change: rewarding yourself, measuring your progress, and using feedback to revise your plans.
The power of rewards
Don’t underestimate the power of rewards. We know that people learn best when they are rewarded (reinforced) for their successes rather than punished for their failures. One of the best ways to celebrate your behavior change is to reward yourself. It is important to acknowledge that you have done something difficult. It might be as simple as telling yourself “Good job!” Or asking someone else to tell you the changes they’ve noticed in you. But sometimes you just can’t beat a tangible reward. But what should it be?
How to choose rewards
If your behavior change involved healthy eating, you won’t want to reward yourself with an ice cream sundae, no matter how much that would feel like a reward to you. Better to use a non-food reward (or a healthy food reward) if you have been working on healthy eating and exercise. Maybe a new piece of exercise equipment or sneakers? If you’ve been working on changing your yelling behavior, maybe a good reward would be a massage or pedicure to mark how hard you’ve worked and how stressful it has been. Whatever you choose, have it be something that you don’t always have/give yourself, so that it feels special.
Measure your progress
As part of your celebration, it is also smart to acknowledge what exactly has changed. For some people, measuring progress is as easy as stepping on the scale and seeing the weight loss they aimed for. Or noticing that they are now able to walk a mile as compared to the half mile they used to be able to do. But for others, using journals during the Practicing the Change phase will be important here. Did you used to yell at your kids once a day and now you are down to once a week? That’s a huge accomplishment! But perhaps you know that even yelling once a week is something you want to cut back on. So, you may need to revise your behavior change plan.
Using feedback to revise your plan
This is the time to ask yourself what worked and what didn’t work in your original plan. Perhaps you’ve noticed that it is easier for you to stick with your new healthy eating and exercise plan during the week, but the weekends are tougher for you. So, what do you need to do going forward to make the weekends time for progress too? If you haven’t had as much success as you wanted in losing weight or increasing your exercise time, is it time to consult a nutritionist or a health care provider? Maybe for the parent trying to cut back on their yelling they’ll notice that taking a deep breath before intervening keeps them calm, but at the end of a busy day even a deep breath doesn’t help. If there are some times that you still feel unable to control your yelling behavior would some coaching or therapy help you figure out why you are still triggered to yell?
Feel free to contact me using the Contact Us button or email me at [email protected] if you’d like some help revising your behavior change plan.