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Have you been chipping away at a new behavior this Summer? Maybe if you remember a few posts back, we talked about one of our favorite behavior change theories called the Stages of Change. And one thing we mentioned is that you can move forward and backward in these stages!

Things that can make us regress or relapse to a previous stage are usually called triggers, but we want to take this in a positive direction and view them as opportunities. So....why are we bringing this up right before we begin school again?! That is because transitions can be common triggers. And, if we recognize this in advance we may be able to prevent it from happening. ALTHOUGH, I would like to be clear and restate that regression is VERY NORMAL and can be a very valuable opportunity for us to take a step back, reevaluate our motivation for change, identify barriers that we need to overcome (triggers) and develop a new plan of action to get us to the finish line.

For today's purposes, we are going to focus on ways to try and prevent this regression by taking a figurative step back. These new routines we are about to embark on can rattle us a bit (maybe in a good way). Sure, we do them every year. But each year is different and if you're in the middle of trying to change a behavior, any change in your current routine could become a barrier. So what are some steps we can take in this relapse prevention plan?! Essentially, we are doing the same things we would if we had regressed...but we are practicing in a proactive manner, not in a reactive manner.

1. Reflection - Take some time BEFORE these new routines begin and reflect on what has really worked over these last weeks or months and how did you make it work? Check in and see how changing this behavior has added to your life and the benefits you have felt because of the change.

2. Reassess and Reformulate - Reassess all triggers/barriers that you have encountered and generate new ways to address them (in case they come up again) AND assess how you will handle potential new barriers.

3. Reaffirm - Is your motivation for change the same? If not, what is it now and why? If it is the same, is it as strong as it was in the beginning? If not, how can you strengthen it?

As we head into this last week (or last few weeks) of Summer, let's all take some time to preserve all of the hard work we have been putting into changing our health behaviors for the better! Let's try to incorporate these new behaviors into these new routines!

Whew. It was a lot of pressure deciding on what our inaugural content post should be! It’s our first impression on the medium where a lot of us get our information from these days, so it has to be perfect. Right?!

Well, I hate to disappoint you, this post (and the others to follow) will be far from perfect. I’m sure there will be typos, grammatical and punctuation errors, information that won’t interest you, jokes that aren’t funny, debatable messaging, and many other NORMAL practices that will help us learn lessons and better ourselves as we go.

So, as I debated for hours and days, I interestingly enough found some sort of comfort in showing this vulnerability in our inaugural post. Why? Because I decided what I want you to learn from this post is that Nourishing Our Needs isn’t going to paint a picture of perfection, because it’s not and never will be.

When we are helping individuals navigate their health and wellness journeys, perfection is not a part of those journeys. Nourishing Our Needs is about what I mentioned above—practices that will help us learn lessons and better ourselves as we go.

We learn so much valuable information from trial and error, adjustments, and listening to our minds, bodies, and hearts.

So, come along with us as we navigate through our own new journey and learn with us along the way!

We’ve mentioned a time or two that Nourishing Our Needs is based on a behavior change theory called the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) and the Stages of Change. But, we haven’t told you what that is and why we use it.. so here’s a crash course in behavior change theory. There are many behavior change theories to choose from and each have their own strengths and limitations. Theories help build the framework of strategies and interventions to effect behavior change. The TTM is one of the most widely used theories and is based on processes and principles of change across different theories of intervention—hence the Transtheoretical. This is one of my favorite theories to use as it also identifies activities that individuals use to help progress them through these stages. So, it helps health education professionals pinpoint techniques to move the public and individuals through to the termination phase ending in the new behavior! I’m trying to journal a little bit every morning. I’ve purchased the journal and will start on 7/1—so I am in the preparation phase! Share a behavior of yours and what stage you are in!

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