"Progress is impossible without change, & those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
-George Bernard Shaw
Behavior modification starts with awareness and knowing that a behavior needs to be changed. Once we become aware of unhealthy behaviors or habits we can start to replace them with healthy, positive behaviors. The awareness usually comes from within or if another person alerts you of the unhealthy pattern. When you make a genuine effort to observe what is happening in your life, you will become more aware of the situation and notice what triggers you to engage in that behavior. It's important to reflect on your behaviors and think about how you can improve. Then the choice is made by you to change the behavior or continue doing it. This change won't happen over night, but it will occur slowly over time. It starts with awareness and continues with motivation, education, support, and substitution. Instead of saying you are not going to do the behavior anymore it's best to find something to replace the behavior with. The results will be much more successful.
Here's some examples of unhealthy habits and changing the behavior!
- If you spend 3 hours during the day watching tv, you can replace that behavior with exercising or going outside to do an activity.
- If your behavior is to have an unhealthy snack, try to replace that behavior with eating a serving of fruits or vegetables.
- If you hang around people who smoke, and you want to quit, surround yourself with other friends who do not engage in that behavior.
It can take up to 6 months for a new behavior to become a habit. Over time, the new behavior will be much more desirable than the old one. Once it becomes a part of your daily routine you won't even think about it.