Discover the Steps that You Need to Take
Explore the challenge of
changing your unhealthy habits. What are
you emotionally up against? If you underestimate
your challenge, you may become over-confident
(I can quit drinking any time). If you overestimate
your challenge, you may lack the confidence
to change (I feel hopeless about quitting
Understand Your Challenge
It is important to
understand what you are up against, in terms
of clarifying your issues about change.
Step 1 - Use a decision balance
to clarify your issues about change Identify
the issues that hinder and help your prospects
of changing. Then, assess your resistance
and motivation, based on what you think
and how you feel. "I think that I should
change but they don't feel like it" is universal
human experience. If you only listen to
your head (I can quit drinking any time),
you may fall into the "good intention" trap.
If you only feel resistance in their heart
(I feel hopeless about quitting smoking),
you may think that you will never change:
a discouraging, self-fulfilling prophecy.
Step 2 - Assess your
What are the competing priorities
in your life that make it difficult for
you to change? Is your life out of balance,
with too many tasks and too little time?
How could you go about changing your priorities,
especially if you are running on empty?
Where do you begin?
Step 3 - Evaluate
your energy level to change
How much energy can you devote
to making changes in your unhealthy habits?
What is draining your energy ...worry, anxiety
or depression? What would help to restore
your energy level so you can really work
Step 4 - Examine your
Why are you changing? To what
- Are you apathetic or indifferent about
- Do you think that you must, should
or ought to change?
- Are you changing because other people
want you to change?
- Are you changing because it is really
important for you?
- Do you have a mixture of these motives?
Do your motives change over
time? Where are you now?
Master the Process of Change
Is your head (I think that
I should change) and heart (but I don't
feel like it) working against one another?
Learn how to U-turn your emotional resistance
into effective motivation so that your head
and heart on working together on change.
Step 1 - Explore your
perceptions about risks, benefits and harms
Understanding how your perceptions
perpetuate your unhealthy habit is essential
before you can effectively change these
perceptions. It can help you see through
the white lies that you tell yourself that
protect you from some home truths. To what
Are You Maximizing
Your Resistance to Change?
- Do you maximize the upside of your
- Do you maximize the downside of change?
Are You Minimizing Motivation to
- Do you minimize the downside of change?
- Do you minimize the upside of change?
Do you avoid thinking about
how you are wasting your health for short-term
emotional gain? What would it take to invest
in your health?
Step 2 - Lower your
Learn how to:
- Minimize the upside of your unhealthy
- Minimize the downside of change
Are you willing to move out
of your comfort zone to experience ambivalence
about change? This process creates emotional
dis-ease. Will you invest the emotional
energy to work through your ambivalence,
rather than retreat from it? Are you willing
to probe and explore your competing priorities,
with the goal of creating a healthier future?
Step 3 - Increase
- Maximize the downside of your unhealthy
- Maximize the upside of change
Are you willing to substitute
the benefits of your unhealthy habits with
healthy alternatives? Do you want to wait
until your experience the consequences of
your unhealthy habits? Or are you willing
to change before they occur? If you answered
no and then yes to these two questions,
what is preventing you from doing what you
Step 4 - Change your
What do you value more than
your health? Is there a difference between
what you say you value and what you do?
What can help you do what you say?
Rise to the Challenge
Making a plan for change is easy, but implementing
it is the challenge.
Step 1 - Boost your confidence
Set small achievable goals to build and
boost your confidence over time. Whatever
you do, stop yourself (and others) from
undermining your confidence. Don't allow
yourself to be your own worst enemy. Your
belief that positive change is possible
can be your best friend.
Step 2 - Enhance your ability to
How do you know whether you are under estimating
or over estimating your ability to change?
What are your past successes that you can
draw that demonstrate your ability to change?
Work on what you need to do that will increase
your ability to change
Step 3 - Stay on track with your
Use your strengths, past successes, and
lessons learned to keep yourself on track
with your action plan. Ask for support from
others to help you get back on track when
you stray off your course of action
Step 4 - Prevent backsliding to
View relapses as learning opportunities,
not as failures. You're not helping yourself
if you beat yourself up with your failures.
Use your so-called failures to prevent future
Use your new skills to change
any other unhealthy habits and help others
To learn more about how to
these steps, the Motivate Healthy Habits
guidebook will provide learning exercise
that will help you discover how you can
progress toward your goals.