Behaviour change – Mistakes

Behaviour Change - Finish lineWhilst looking at creating habits and behaviour change through the work of BJ Fogg, I came across this short slide show on SlideShare entitled “Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change” from the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford. These tips are not just great for considering how to design and develop technology (apps, websites etc), but are really valid for any personal or professional change that one wants to make. Below are the various tips along with some thoughts. Instinctively we may do some of these. In my work as a coach, some were already considerations, but it is great to see reinforcement coming from academia.

Behaviour Change Mistakes:

  1. “Relying on willpower for long term change” – This is not a strong enough motivator, it needs support.
  2. “Attempting big leaps instead of baby steps” – I have seen this time and time again. Solutions focused coaching gets people to work through baby step change. Chunk down big challenges. How do you reach the top of Everest? Travel from camp to camp THEN push to the summit!
  3. “Ignoring how environment shapes behavior” – Change the environment makes it far easier to change, get support and tools to make change easier.
  4. “Trying to stop old behaviours instead of creating new ones” – This is about creating a future focused orientation. Seen also in solutions focused coaching and most models of coaching.
  5. “Blaming failures on lack of motivation” – The classic excuse! BJ Fogg calls this “simplicity” make things so simple to do, it becomes a no brainer.
  6. “Underestimating the power or triggers” – Create personal “internal” or external triggers to make actions happen.
  7. “Believing that information leads to action” – Another classic. Everyone knows smoking kills, yet smokers still smoke. I also see the same in sales professionals when presenting information to clients. Telling the customer  that they will save 10% in costs is not enough to get them to buy.
  8. “Focusing on abstract goals more than concrete behaviours” – Long term, distant change is too fuzzy. SMART objectives help, but looking to create daily or repeatable habits is way more powerful.
  9. “Seeking to change a behaviour forever, not for a short time” – Shorter periods of time connected together make forever. So cold call this week x 4 weeks equals a month of cold calling or studying 30 mins a day for a month x 12 months is a year of study.
  10. “Assuming that behavior change is difficult” – Fogg developed his behaviour model to show the three aspects that impact habit and behaviour change.

These are excellent considerations for any aspect of habit / behaviour change that are applicable to life, study and work.

With this post, I have hit my personal habit change of two blog posts per week! Thanks for reading!

[Image Source: FreeImages.com / Eran Becker]

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