Behaviour Change

Why changing unhealthy behaviour is difficult and what can be done about it.

“Behaviour is the end result of a prevailing story in one’s mind: change the story and the behaviour will change.” Jacent Mary Mpalyenkana

It is now an established fact that most of the modern day diseases are the result of our sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices. In addition, we all know how smoking and alcohol affect our health badly.

We all know, Obesity kills more people than Malnutrition.

Handpicked related post: How to deal with Childhood obesity?

& yet, we hardly find any change in people’s behaviour and lifestyle choices.

Whether it is fitness and exercise regime or diet changes for better health, change of behaviour is the biggest challenge we human being faced.

We change only when we are in the grip of multiple diseases and death looks imminent.

This is how we are.

No amount of my writing about fitness and diet will help you unless YOU first decide to change.

Research suggests most of our daily activities are executed when we are in autopilot mode.

What is an autopilot mode?

Derek Ralston, a personal development blogger writes; “A growing body of research suggests that as little as 5 percent of our behaviours are made consciously. This means that as much as 95 percent of what we do occurs in autopilot mode- meaning that most skills and behaviours you learn eventually become automatic habits.

For example, when learning to ride a bike, you tried pushing the pedals, but you couldn’t stay balanced, so you fell down. If you decided not to give up and repeated practice, you eventually improved your balance. One day, bike riding became an automatic habit for you,  you didn’t even have to think about it anymore.

This is beneficial for learning new skills and positive habits, but what about negative mindsets and bad habits? What if you repeated being impatient with friends and family members until it became automatic? “(1)

I think this is true for most of our bad habits. Without realising the implication of our action, our autopilot mind does the action. Therefore, unless we are in a conscious mode, the bad habits will be difficult to give up. We get a jolt of consciousness when the damage is already done.

Harvard Health Publishing Why it’s hard to change unhealthy behaviour – and why you should keep trying, states,” One of the most widely applied and tested models of behaviour change in health settings is the trans-theoretical model (TTM). TTM presumes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, or maintenance.”

Change in behaviour is a process. We pass through all the five stages.

  • Pre-contemplation: Don’t know there is a need to change
  • Contemplation: Know need to change and thinking about change
  • Preparation: Planning to change
  • Action: Take action which shows a change of behaviour
  • Maintenance: Continue to take the right action

 To continue to take action requires desired change in an autopilot mode and consciousness about the need to change.

To regain your consciousness about the bad habits, ask the following questions daily.

  • Have I drunk enough water today?
  • Have I done some exercise today?
  • Have I eaten junk food today? (All processed foods like Pizza, Burger, Cold Drinks, Cake, Pastries, in short factory manufactured food)
  • Have I had enough sleep last night?
  • Have I had my food right on time today? (In spite of your busy-ness)
  • Have I avoided heavy meals today and ate smaller meals?

Handpicked related post: How can you ease the pressure on the healthcare system?

When you ask these good habits questions daily this will become your autopilot mode. Consciousness about our bad habits and autopilot of good habit should be your agenda.

“Only I can change my life, no one else can do it for me.” Carol Burnett.


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