Growing up, I cared less about my nutrition and eating habits than paying my taxes. And I didn’t have taxes.
Pop-tarts were my go-to breakfast. My typical lunch was chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, and Gatorade in my school cafeteria. The saving grace of my diet was my mother’s home cooking every evening —a tasty, diverse Shanghainese spread of stir-fried proteins, vegetables, and rice.
In college and adulthood, without my family meals to anchor me, my poor diet continued to worsen. And I gained significant weight, not to mention frequently feeling low-energy and lethargic.
Like many of my office-going peers, one of my goals last year was to shed body fat accumulated from an inactive lifestyle.1 I quickly discovered that regularly eating healthy meals was the biggest lever I could pull. And boy, even though I succeeded in my goal (dropping 24% to 12% body fat over 6 months), the process still felt hard. Later I learned it didn’t have to be.
No matter the discipline, creating good behaviors feels tough for many of us. Exercising three times a week. Putting more savings away each month. For my career coaching clients, consistently feeling less stressed and more confident in the workplace.
In one study led by John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton, 81% of New Years Resolutions ended unsuccessfully. The road to behavior change appears ominous and paved with failure.
What I want to show you is the opposite: behavior change done right should feel easy. If you’re swimming against the current like salmon struggling upstream to their spawning grounds, then something has gone awry.
While behavior change is certainly achievable via the brute force of willpower, that’s a painful approach and a recipe for relapse. My hope here is to share a science-backed model and tools that may help you succeed without relying entirely on willpower.
In this evidence-based guide, I want to show you that changing behavior —whether it’s related to your career, wellness, or another area of your life— is not rocket science, but a simple, practical process that you can start today.
What we’ll cover in this article:
- First, I’ll outline a model of behavior change, based on scientific research, to ground our understanding. We’ll discuss why it works as well as its criticisms.
- Second, we’ll walk through an assessment that you can use to evaluate your readiness to change.
- Third, we’ll talk about the five stages of behavior change, action items to perform in each step, and how to address possible challenges that prop up.
- By the end of this guide, you’ll be empowered with knowledge, frameworks, and tools to move towards building new, healthy habits into your lifestyle.
Let’s get started.[Read more…] about The Ultimate Guide to Lasting Behavior Change