7 top tips for habit change - Tip 4

Tip number 4: Plan out sticky situations - ‘if-then’ plans 

As we’ve discussed, all people have different levels of willpower and self control for different things and at different times. We’ve also discussed that we need to expect set-backs and reframe them as non-disasters in order to move on from them. Having said that, too many set backs and we are going to find it harder to get where we would like to go.

This is where the ability to be honest with ourselves about where we are likely to veer off course and plan in advance for these inevitable situations can come in handy. 

So what does planning out sticky situations look like in action? Start by taking some time to pause and analyse what triggers you to engage in less healthy behaviours? For many, triggers are external situations like social events where food and drink are present, eating out at a restaurant or sitting on the sofa alone after the kids are in bed. But they can also be internal states like anxiety, boredom, low-body confidence or loneliness. Once you have a picture of what those external and internal triggers are, make an if-then plan for an alternative plan that will serve you better. 

Here are three ‘if-then’ examples to get you started:

  • Trigger to overeat = buffet table at a party

Plan = if I go to a party with a buffet table, then I will eat before I go and position myself away from the food 

  • Trigger to eat off plan= lucious dessert menus at French restaurants 

Plan = if I go to a French restaurant, then I will ask the waiter not to bring a bread basket before I sit down and split a dessert with my partner 

  • Trigger to skip a workout= feeling underconfident with my body

Plan = if I feel underconfident with my body and as a result don’t want to go to the gym, then instead of skipping my workout I will do a short Roczen Move session from home. 

Now this isn’t the easiest beahviour change technique to implement and it does take abit of time and, well, planning. But it IS effective! Get a paper and pen out, have a brain storm about your triggers and WRITE some if-then plans down.