People may think that changing their unwanted or non-preferred behaviour is an arduous and sometimes seemingly impossible process. As a result they become identified by these unwanted behaviours and resign themselves to thinking “this is who I am”. The reality is there are only three simple steps required for behaviour change to occur.
But first, let’s discuss what behaviour is. Many people associate the word ‘behaviour’ with “unwanted actions” such as “being naughty” or other similar negative meanings. The reality is we are all using behaviours all day every day.
Behaviour is simply anything a person:
Whenever we are doing, saying, thinking or feeling something we would prefer not to, we can simply say “I am using a behaviour I would like to know how to change”.
You must also understand that wanted behaviours and unwanted behaviours cannot exist at exactly the same time. Thus, the more time we spend using wanted behaviours, the less time we have using unwanted behaviours. Putting it mathematically, our goal will be to:
Increase our use of wanted behaviours
which will in turn leave less time available
for unwanted behaviours to occur.
Lastly you must understand that successful behaviour change CANNOT occur unless we successfully understand the reason why the behaviour is occurring in the first place.
That is, it must be understood that ALL BEHAVIOUR IS HAPPENING FOR A REASON. By acknowledging this reason, we are also acknowledging that behaviour is not random and to successfully understand the reason, we must understand behaviour as a science. Do not judge behaviour; rather observe it as a person’s communication tool … a communication tool to tell us “something is going on that they DO NOT feel equipped to manage”.
To Change Behaviour We Can Follow 3 Simple Steps:
Step 1: Listen to the body
- Our body is our biggest communicator and will be the first sign to tell us we are experiencing a tension. Learning to listen to the body is a science in itself but one that is ignored by many people. Give credit to the body and listen to it as it will be your biggest support in truly changing your unwanted or non-preferred behaviours.
- A body free of tension is soft and relaxed. Anything that is NOT this, means something is going on that the person is finding uncomfortable in some way.
- Identify what a person’s body does to communicate they are experiencing something they do not feel equipped to manage … a Challenging Situation.
Step 2: Identify what is the Challenging Situation
- What is it about the current situation that the person finds uncomfortable, difficult or challenging?
- Micro analyse to find the real challenge — sometimes it’s just the smallest of triggers.
- What is it about this situation that a person perceives they are not completely equipped to manage … they don’t feel like they have the skills to support them?
Step 3: What new skills can be taught and learnt?
- What skill is needed so the person can self-master the identified challenging situation?
- Once the new skill has been learnt and is being used the person will feel equipped to manage the original challenging situation (thus no longer needs the use of the old unwanted behaviours).
Behaviour Change is simply about supporting people to develop the skills to manage the tensions in life that they currently perceive they ARE NOT equipped to manage.
This is relevant for ALL people and ALL unwanted behaviours, for Children – Teenagers – Adults.
This article was originally published in the October 2013 Edition of Haven Magazine.