Cultivating New Behaviors: Mini-Segment #3, Behavior Management Series

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

We’re here, at Mini-Segment #3, ready to up the ante. Are you excited?

Refresher

In Mini-Segment #1, we established 3 core elements driving human behavior. Remember? When Motivation and Ability come together at the same moment, Behavior happens. Click here to jog your memory: LINK: https://wp.me/pd3iuc-Fo

In Mini-Segment #2, you discovered the 3 ingredients in your Recipe for Success: Anchor Behavior, Tiny Behavior and immediate Celebration. This recipe’s instructions included using the principle of “after.” Remember? Click here to take a quick look back: https://wp.me/pd3iuc-Hg

Since then, if you accepted your mission assignment, you took the ball and ran with it: Prepared the ingredients, Wrote Down Your Recipe, Did the behavior, and, Celebrated your success! Well done!

Now, in Min-Segment #3, the objective is to up the challenge a notch, by following this process for starting a behavior that is new to you, something you haven’t done. We all want to add new behaviors, for our own growth and development and to be able to add value for ourselves and/or other people.

Because this tiny behavior has the added challenge of being new to you, your first recipe will probably be for a one-time action; once you’re successful, it’s a good idea to repeat this as another one-time action; and then you’ll be well prepared to write a recipe for a span of time that you can continue increasing in duration.

It’s recommended to add new-to-you behaviors in small steps, at your own pace. It’s not a race or a contest. It’s better to go slow.

Step 1 in Adding a new-to-you behavior:

Choose a behavior you want to become habitual.

It could be something you recently learned about in a training program. It could be something you read about in a book or article. Maybe you heard it in a podcast. It could be something you saw done by someone else. It could also be something you have had in mind for a while. The only requirements are:

  1. You want to do it!
  2. It’s either tiny enough — or it can be broken up into small enough parts — to be easy for you do.

Now that you’ve chosen a tiny, shiny, new-to-you behavior that you want to do, ask yourself: Am I going to be able to get myself to do this?

If the answer is no or uncertain, break the new behavior down to create a tinier behavior, one that is a piece of the desired new behavior, to make it so easy for you to do; a bit of progress.

Tip: Remember the vacuuming example? We created a tiny-behavior-chain. To do this, we set up a preparation step, a tiny behavior that was easy to do (clearing small things off the floor and setting up the vacuum cleaner). After we succeeded in doing that, we added the next tiny behavior in the chain, vacuuming just 1 room.

Step 2 in Adding a new-to-you behavior:

Identify an Anchor, one of your solid, established daily routines, that your desired new, tiny behavior will logically follow. It should make sense, to you, for the new behavior to come after this Anchor routine is completed.

Then, identify the last action in that routine. The last action of that routine will serve as your Prompt to then do the new behavior.

Step 3 in Adding a new-to-you behavior:

Set the timeframe. It’s more challenging to add a new-to-you behavior than to add a behavior you already have experience doing. Decide: will you be getting yourself to do this new behavior once? We have found it’s easier to be successful with a new-to-you behavior by beginning it as a one-time activity. But, you could decide to begin with a short span of time such as doing it for a week. The longer the timeframe, the harder it may be for you to do. Take your time and build successes.

Step 4 in Adding a new-to-you behavior:

Write your Recipe for Success. It starts with “After I …”

Write the recipe on a card:

After I:(Last step in the Anchor Routine)
I will:(Tiny Behavior)
Then I’ll:(Immediate celebration to lock the pleasure of success into my brain)

Once you’ve made this new-to-you behavior a habit that is automatic, or into a fixed part of a routine, you can then begin to grow it. If this behavior is part of a behavior chain you’re creating you can use it as a Prompt for the next tiny behavior link in the chain.

Another option is to write a new recipe for the same tiny behavior, but this time, with a longer time span.

The idea is to continue to grow this new-to-you behavior, carefully keeping it easy to do, at your own pace. You may write additional recipes to build a chain; or, write additional recipes to lengthen the time span to meet your objective. Just make one addition at a time to keep it easy to do.

Note: You may find it helpful to make a quick list of your daily routines; they can each serve as an Anchor and provide a Prompt that will become the “after” for adding a tiny behavior.

Reminder: Consider Choosing Support Strategies

  • Many of us find working with a partner helps us to make changes. If you prefer being part of a team with one or more other people who have a strong desire to make behavior changes, explore the idea of joining forces with a friend or a group. Other people can help hold you accountable as well as join in your celebrations to make the most of your successes.
  • Let others know what you’re doing. Sometimes sharing what you learn can reinforce and strengthen both your knowledge and your motivation.
  • Track your progress using a chart or graph. It’s very satisfying to see your new behaviors being accomplished time after time, in a visual tool.
  • Work on one behavior at a time, and hold off on adding another until you’ve made it either automatic (a behavior you do without even thinking about it – a habit) or a fixed part of your routine. It’s better to take your time and lock in the new behavior than to take on too much change at once, which can cause set-backs and failure.
  • The celebration needs to be immediate upon doing the new behavior, every time, until it’s securely locked in. The joy it causes builds your motivation to continue time after time.
  • Be aware of and manage your self-talk. Thinking poorly of yourself, giving yourself criticism in a non-constructive way and judging yourself negatively contaminates your state of mind. People do much better at making changes and improvements when they are confident and happy.
  • Research, watch videos, listen to podcasts and read high quality material, to learn about behavior change, learning theories and social theories. You’ll not only become very knowledgeable, but you’ll also find your motivation continues to grow and you’ll experience even more satisfaction in your success.

Conclusion:

It’s a significant achievement to add a new-to-you behavior to your life. The great news is, as your new behaviors become automatic, you can continue to add behaviors to Anchor routines for as long as you like! You can add multi-step behaviors or tiny individual behaviors. Another key to success is this: Remember to keep it all easy to do. You’re making yourself stronger and increasing your capabilities, over time.

What’s Next?

Your mission assignment between now and Mini-Segment #4 is to start a new-to-you behavior following the process.

Min-Segment #4 will focus on Stopping a Behavior.

Sources/Recommended Reading:

Tell us: We’re interested in your feedback. In addition to hearing your thoughts and opinions, we’d like to know the following:

  1. How is this process working for you?
  2. What obstacles have you encountered using it?
  3. How can we help you?
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