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!