Parmees Yazdanyar – Parmees Fit


Get & Stay Motivated

We are all aware of the negative consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. Health risk behaviors such as smoking, inactivity, unhealthy diets, alcohol and substance use and poor stress management significantly contribute to a higher risk of morbidity, disability, reduced functioning and productivity and escalating diseases. However, many of us still engage in these unhealthy behaviors even when the possible outcomes are known. We know that the few glasses of wine we have each night are probably more than the recommended amount, or how the muffin and latte we have in the morning is not what you would call a nutritious breakfast, but we cannot give up these habits that we have accumulated ovstaying-motivateder the years. What is it about change that makes it so difficult? And do these habits have an impact on whether we are motivated or not?

Motivation: that inner willpower that makes you choose the apple over the doughnut, or make that last pack of cigarettes really is your last one. Psychologists have studied motivation and behavior-
changing patterns and have now put together ten processes that have received the most empirical support that they would suggest to anyone trying to make a positive healthy change in their lives, and looking to keep it that way. Let’s take a look at each of these processes and how they work:

  • Consciousness-Raising

Consciousness-Raising involved increased awareness of the causes, consequences, and cure for a particular problem habit. Interventions that can help increase awareness include feedback, interpretations, self-help books or magazines, and media campaigns. Sedentary people, for example, may not be aware that their inactivity can have the same risk as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. People who are have high blood pressure or high blood
glucose may not know that they may just be magnesium deficient. The more you become aware of the causes and consequences of certain conditions and behaviors, the better you can try and prevent the negative outcome.

  • Dramatic Relief

Dramatic Relief initially produces increased emotional experiences followed by reduced affect or anticipated relief, if appropriate action is taken. Role-playing, grieving, personal testimonies, and health risk feedback are examples of techniques that can move people emotionally. This allows one to feel in control of his or her emotions.

  • Self-re-evaluation

Self-re-evaluation combines both cognitive and affective assessments of one’s self-image with and without a particular unhealthy habit, for example, one’s self image as a couch potato versus a healthy active person. Identifying healthy role models and imagery techniques can help people apply self-re-evaluation. The individual imagines a positive self-image associated with the absence of the unhealthy behavior, which in turn functions as a motivating factor to avoid going back to that bad habit.

  • Environmental re-evaluation

Environmental re-evaluation combines both affective and cognitive assessments of how the presence or absence of a personal habit affects one’s social environment such as relationship with family or friends, work environment, or even the effect it has on how society views them. For example, what does smoking portray to my children? The drive to create a positive image for one’s social surroundings serves as another motivating factor to change that problem behaviour.

  • Self-Liberation

Self-liberation is the belief that one can change and has the willpower to commit to that change. Telling others about your commitment strengthens your willpower to actually take action and go forth with it. For example, telling your peers that you are dedicated to losing 30 pounds will increase your likelihood of pursuing that goal.

  • Social Liberation

Social liberation requires an increase in social opportunities or alternatives, especially for people who are relatively deprived or oppressed. By providing alternatives in their environment, the individual is less likely to resort back to old, unhealthy habits. An example of this may be having a salad bar in a cafeteria instead of a burger shack, having smoke-free zones in public areas, facilitating access to condoms and sexual health for young adults and so forth.

  • Counter-conditioning

Counter-conditioning requires learning healthy behaviors as substitutes for problem behaviors. Examples include nicotine replacement for those trying to quit smoking or using exercise to cope with stress as opposed to “comfort foods”.

  • Stimulus Control

Stimulus control removes cues for unhealthy habits and adds prompts for healthier alternatives. When you are lacking the constant reminder of that habit, it is less likely to cross your mind meaning you have more chances of abstaining from it successfully. This may include removing ashtrays from your home, or throwing away all the junk food in your house and replacing them with whole foods. This way, even when you are tempted, you have fewer resources to relapse.

  • Reinforcement Management

This provides positive consequences for taking steps in a positive direction. While reinforcement management requires punishment, it has been shown that self-changers rely on reward much more than punishment. Rewarding yourself for each step you take towards your goal is crucial to keep you motivated to push yourself harder towards it. Set small objectives and treat yourself as you overcome obstacles.

  • Helping relationships

Having social support is probably one of the most important factors in changing behaviour. We as human beings are in constant desire of approval from others. When our peer and loved ones combine caring, trust, encouragement and acceptance in their attitudes towards us, we are more likely to strive on our personal goals.

As it is shown, there are many ways these techniques can be applied to help you stay on track and continue your efforts towards a happier, healthier you!

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