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Make behavioral changes work for you

Laura Brownlee
Special to the Appeal

As a continuation of last week’s focus on Prochaska’s Readiness to Change Model, let’s make wellness work for you. The National Wellness Institute has created a Behavior Change Guide. By following these few steps, a higher level of wellness is at your fingertips.

Write down a target behavior you would like to change.

Identify three benefits of how this new change will increase your wellness. (i.e. I will be happier, more relaxed, and be able to spend more time with the people I love.)

Pinpoint your long-term goal and three short-term “goals” that will help you attain your long-term goal. Remember a goal must be SMART. S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Attainable, R = Realistic, and T = Timely.

Are you fully ready to commit to this change? Here are a few questions to ask yourself. If “no” is the answer to any of them, it would be in your best interest to choose another behavior or a more achievable goal that helps you answer “yes”.

It is important to me to change this behavior.

I am ready to successfully change this behavior.

I will be more well if I change this behavior.

If needed, I will spend money to help change this behavior.

I am ready to devote time to change this behavior.

I chose a behavior that is able to be measured or counted.

I have selected a SMART goal.

I have others who can and will support me through this behavior change.

List strategies and obstacles to achieving your goals. List solutions for overcoming those obstacles.

Write down your strategy.

Having supportive surroundings will help this process become successful and satisfying. How will you create your environments to be both difficult to practice your old behavior and start to practice the new behavior? It may be beneficial to write down a list of friends or family members who will be your supportive net. And list what you will need from others to help you along the way.

Once you make small steps forward, you will, of course, need to reward yourself. List three enjoyable, positive rewards to motivate yourself to make your change a success. And what will your long-term goal reward be?

This step is used to implement your strategies and record your progress. It has been proven that those who record or keep a journal of their progress reach their goals and in a shorter time period than those who do not. Journaling acts as a tool to keep you accountable and on-track. List the date, what you plan to do, what you did, what helped or what got in your way, and how you can overcome the obstacle in the future or how it felt to make this step forward.

Lastly, make adjustments. If your success is not happening as you had hoped, review the above steps, and make adjustments. Persistence is important. Believe in yourself, and the goodnesses are endless.

– Laura Brownlee is a Carson City resident and works with National Wellness Institute. She can be reached at editor@nevadaappeal