Your Guide to Behaviour Change.

What is your aspiration?

In my last blog we explored why resolutions fail. If you missed it, find the post here.

I summarised by listing the three components a behaviour must have if it’s likely to hold.

Here’s a reminder:

  • The behaviour is effective in realising your aspiration
  • You want to do the behaviour
  • You can do the behaviour

We call these ‘Golden Behaviours’.

To find your Golden Behaviours, follow me as I show you both the process and how they’ve worked for myself and many of my clients.

Why should you do this?

The way you think of changing behaviour will be different – it feels like a weights been lifted off your shoulders.

Grab a pen and paper and let’s help you move forward positively…

Steps in Behaviour Design
  1. Clarify Aspirations
  2. Explore Behaviour Options
  3. Match with Specific Behaviours
  4. Start Tiny
 1. Clarify your Aspiration

This is a really important first step. All too often we write down an ‘outcome’ rather than an ‘aspiration.’ We write down lose 10kg as an outcome but only lose 8kg. We then feel disappointed… when you’ve done really, really well!

Writing down an aspiration is at first, less intimidating and secondly means you’re less likely to feel terrible if you don’t quite reach your goal. You’ll therefore feel good and continue rather than relapse completely!

It’s always worth remembering that ’emotions build habits.’ Don’t therefore set yourself up for failure.

Grab a piece of paper and write down your aspiration. Here’s mine.

What is your aspiration?

2. Explore Behaviour Options

With your aspiration written down around the cloud, write down all the behaviours that would help you towards your aspiration. Think outside the box. Remember these can be ‘one off behaviours’ such as cancelling your wine club subscription or, tiny behaviours you do each day such as ensuring you put your training kit bag by the door each night prompting you to train the next day.

Once written down, look at each one and think how you can make more specific? For example, rather than get to bed by 2300, I’ve put set bed time alarm.

Here’s my ‘Swarm of Behaviours.’

Swarm of Behaviours

3. Match with Specific Behaviours

With our behaviours listed, we now need to identify two to three ‘Golden Behaviours.’

The behaviours you select from your ‘swarm of behaviours’ and into your focus mapping should be high impact in helping you reach your aspirations as well as being both feasible and practical.

Let’s look over these in two rounds.

Round 1 – Impact.
Using my two examples, would strength training help with weight loss? Yes, as it boosts my metabolism to help me burn more calories. Would reducing alcohol intake have a direct impact on weight loss? Yes, as I reduce my calorific intake.

Round 2 – Feasible and Practical.
Can I train? Yes, I enjoy it, I own two gyms and I’m there every day. Can I reduce alcohol intake? Yes, I have done so before. I just need to design my behaviour to make it achievable.

However, I can increase the chance of success further by refining these again and ‘start tiny’.

Go through your ‘swarm of behaviours’ and select two or three ‘Golden Behaviours’ as I have using the above process.

Focus Mapping

4. Start Tiny

In Tiny Habits coaching, we use the analogy of a Greenhouse where some seeds grow and others don’t. With seeds which don’t grow, simply replace and try again.

Here’s how I’ve done it with my two ‘Golden Behaviours’: 

Strength Training –

I’ve modified my strength training to daily 15 min workouts. After I certified with Tiny Habits last year I started experimenting with how I train and I found that I was far more successful if I didn’t over commit to a rigid programs. I lowered the bar and kept things tiny.

Reduce Alcohol – 

I found the best way to reduce my alcohol consumption was to ‘hijack’ my habit of having a beer most nights by buying alcohol free beer and having it in the fridge. It was the perfect prompt. If I forget to buy alcohol free beer and I do drink on one night, it’s no drama, I just need to remember to buy some next time I’m out. 

Rather than seeing it as failure, have fun and view behaviour design as a game.

Focus Mapping

Bringing it all together. 

In order to design successful habit’s and change your behaviours you’ll need to do three things:

  1. Stop judging yourself
  2. Break down your aspirations into tiny behaviours
  3. Embrace mistakes as discoveries 

Starting tiny isn’t always seen as intuitive, in fact it can be a battle. But, by being successful in growing one or two behaviours you’ll have the confidence to grow many and reach your aspiration.