Change can be hard – especially when it involves adopting healthy new behaviors. How often have we channeled our inner warrior willpower, only to cave to temptation and eat that candy bar we swore off, stay up too late, or skip our workout again?
Why is choosing healthy over unhealthy difficult? Look no further than the theory of willpower depletion. This theory comes from research that showed that resisting temptation over and over again takes a mental toll – like a muscle that tires from overuse. Our daily supply of willpower is a limited resource. Using willpower in one situation to make the right choice drains the self-control needed to make good choices for the next situation. Bottom line? We need more than willpower to develop healthy habits.
So hooray for Behavior Change Strategies! These strategies are great because used with willpower, they help make healthy habits stick. Behavior change strategies work because they target unhealthy behaviors, motivate change, and help us develop sustainable new habits. These strategies are always available to use once we understand them. And, these strategies all start with change in motivation - which means that when we starting using them, we'll be making cool healthy changes inside our minds well before anyone sees our cool healthy outside behavior changes!
Excited to learn more? In future blogs, we’ll talk about the different behavior change strategies and how to use them - so check into our blog space often.
Starting today – approach healthy living as a journey - not a destination. Take joy in this adventure, grab friends and family to travel along, don’t be afraid to take a wrong turn or start again. And, celebrate joyful moments and good intentions every day!
Maile Jachowski, MD