Thursday, May 26, 2011


Making a decision to change unhealthy behaviors can be overwhelming. Changing moves you out of your comfort zone into the unknown, which can be stressful and sometimes just plain annoying. You may have seen friends successfully change a number of unhealthy behaviors; from making healthier food choices to reducing alcohol consumption. How do they do it and why are you having such a hard time? 

The truth is very simple, you may not be ready to change and that’s ok! Change is something you can work towards. Most people who make permanent changes will tell you they took some time to think and weighed the outcomes of their decisions. Many behavioral change experts refer to this process as a decisional balance

Think of a decisional balance as a scale. On one side you have the positive consequences of the change you want to make, on the other side, the negative consequences. If they're equal you will not have a compelling reason to change. However, if the positives outweigh the negatives; the scale tips towards changing and it's more likely that you'll be motivated to change. If your negatives outweigh the positives you may need to take a little more time to examine your reasons for changing.

It is also important to examine how you will view yourself when you’ve made the change and how others will react to your change. Some decisions may be a benefit to you but a cost to someone else. Having mixed feelings about changing is normal.

Try filling out the table below for the behavior you would like to change.  

(List all pros)
(List all cons)
Consequences to self

Consequences to others

Reactions to self
(How will your self-image improve)

Reactions of others
(How will others react to your change)

How did you do? Did the positives outweigh the negatives? If so, great! If not, don’t worry, keep working on it. Take more time to educate yourself on the area you want to change. The decision you need to make will gradually become clearer to you. Good Luck!

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