Behavioral change is a difficult concept. What is it, and how does it work? Can you call something behavioral change if the effect is only temporary? In this blog, I will show you how to make change accessible and lasting behavior. Both private and in a business environment; these tactics can be widely applied.
In my work for The Travel Movement, I deal with behavioral change every day. With others, that is. Of course I have also ‘radically wanted to change course’, I really do not know where to go for chocolate, I do that for a week, and afterward, I forgot automatically again. Too difficult, no concrete goal on the horizon. Nothing is as difficult to change, and then to keep it going.
In recent years I have learned from our projects. Naturally, we apply these rules for the Travel Movement and the Low Car Diet, and with success. See also the text at the bottom of this blog.
1. Start with a short period
Say, two weeks. That makes it manageable and low-threshold. It is short enough to feel that you can keep it full. In addition, it is long enough to learn something from the old behavior. If these first two weeks go well you can extend the period. After several extensions or weeks, you can safely say that your new behavior has been ingrained!
2. Not required every day
Radically changing the rudder is not easy: ‘cold turkey’ may seem like a tough solution, but in practice, it is very intense. we see that it is very difficult for obstinate drivers to go to work every day with a sustainable means of transport. That is why we give people the freedom to decide for themselves on which days they can and want to try a sustainable means of transport. This is ultimately much more realistic with a view to continuing the behavior. Never eat more chocolate is not realistic for many, but certainly, do reduce!
That is why I say: start the first two weeks of the day with your new behavior (3 to 4 days a week). If that goes well, you can expand it with two weeks of 5 to 6 days a week new behavior. You see that the new habit slowly slips, and you also occasionally give yourself a break. This ultimately gives a much more sustainable effect.
Build a competitive element and take on the challenge together with others. So you have something to fight for together. This makes it a lot more fun to do. You support each other and you can share your positive and negative experiences. At work, it helps if you work towards a common goal with the team: for example earning money for a good cause.
4. Make it fun: reward yourself
Your goal for the week? Reward yourself! Buy a nice book or that part for you … [enter your gadget here]. In case of a challenge in business: you keep participants committed by regularly paying attention to them. Put them in the sun and work with (small) rewards. This sounds childish, but it works (unfortunately?).
5. Keep track of your experiences
For example, write regularly in a diary how the new behavior suits you. What do you like about the new behavior? This does not have to be extensive, a daily list of the (positive) small things you experience is enough. Photos also help, so you can hold the memory longer. At difficult times you can look back at these lists and experiences. For example, at work, you can set up a common physical or online place where participants share their experiences.