Three Strategies for Behaviour Change
Whether you are wanting to break a bad habit, find more motivation, change your outlook on life or achieve your goals, it all comes down to behaviour and how to change it.
The behaviours you have now were not formed overnight. You have had years to practice and perfect the behaviours that are now automatic. Some habits have taken a lifetime to form.
Unfortunately, some of these autopilot habits are not so beneficial.
They are habits that you will want to change. But change can be hard.
So, what are some strategies you can engage to change your behaviour, and how well do they work?
Let’s look at the 3 best methods for behaviour change.
Three Strategies for Behaviour Change...
Start From The Bottom And Work Your Way Up
This is the most commonly used method for changing behaviour. The strategy is simple. All you need to do is look at the current behaviour that you want to change, and vow to change it. This strategy works best for simple goal setting.
For example, your goal might be to read one book every month. Deciding to do it is the first step. You can even use this strategy to stop unwelcome behaviours like smoking or nail biting.
While it sounds simple in theory, this bottom-up strategy relies heavily on willpower. That is the hard part, as it can be a hard thing to master. To encourage success, break your goals down into bite-sized pieces that are not so daunting to achieve. Then, tie in some rewards for achieving each stage or negative consequences for not reaching your goal.
This strategy has a singular focus. It is all about fixing the behaviour itself and doesn't really take into account the cause of the habit, the end result or who you are as a person.
Start From The Top
This method uses a broader, more goal-focused strategy that results in behaviour changes down the line. Unlike the bottom up tactic which focuses on one behaviour at a time, the top down strategy allows you to change multiple behaviours at once.
This is because it utilises your drive and energy to reach a specific goal. By fixating on the goal, you can change multiple behaviours with a trickle-down effect. Rather than focus on fixing the specific behaviours, you focus on the end goal.
This kind of strategy works when you have a goal that is so important to you that you live and breathe it. The goal has to be something you are really passionate about, or you may lack the motivation to see this method through. Another thing that can make this strategy a success is a major change of environment.
That change forced your hand to change your behaviours. It can be something like moving to a new city or changing your job. Without that crystal clear motivation, it is difficult to use this strategy.
Change From The Inside
This strategy is more about internally-driven change. It involves reflecting on yourself, figuring out who you are as a person versus who you want to be, and making changes based on that understanding. You make a conscious decision to be a different person.
When you implement this strategy successfully, it can be the most powerful of all three methods. It helps you to change countless behaviours, along with your outlook on life. The key is changing the way you see yourself as that also changes the way the world sees you.
If you change the way you see yourself and work with your thoughts and beliefs around this, you can drastically change your likes, dislikes, and behaviours - having a huge impact on your life.
With great power comes great responsibility. Meaning, this is also the most difficult strategy to implement.
You can't simply state that you are going to be a certain way and then expect your behaviour to instantly get the message.
It requires, introspection, self-examination, honesty and awareness. The motivation to change from the inside is usually a powerful one, and if successful, should stay with you for life.
The strategies are ranked in accordance with the severity of the behaviour you want to change. Bottom up focuses on one key behaviour, Top down allows you to change multiple behaviours at once, but Inside out can change who you are as a person. The issues you want to address will dictate the best strategy for you.