How to Change Your Behavior: A Book Review of Triggers

How to Change Your Behavior: A Book Review of Triggers

Wanting to change doesn’t mean that we’re going to change. That’s the enigma of behavioral change that you’ll encounter whether you’re trying to shave off a few pounds or adopt a more positive life stance. But you can find out how to change your behavior. In Triggers, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith tells you how to change your behavior. Click to read the book review. Wanting to change doesn’t mean that we’re going to change. That’s the enigma of behavioral change that you’ll encounter whether you’re trying to shave off a few pounds or adopt a more positive life stance. But you can find out how to change your behavior. Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be In Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith discusses why behavioral change is so hard, how to change your behavior and how to create lasting behavior change. Although he discusses his corporate clients throughout the book, the suggestions throughout this book are universal.

How to Change Your Behavior

Goldsmith fills the book with doable advice on triggers and how to change your behavior. Here are five of the points that stood out to me.

“Meaningful behavioral change is very hard to do”

Marshall explains the three reasons why change is hard. The first reason: It is hard to admit that we need to change. This is either because we don’t see it or we created excuses as to why we don’t need to change. The second reason: We underestimate the power of inertia. “Given the choice, we prefer to do nothing”, writes Dr. Goldsmith. The third reason: We know we want to change but don’t know how. Remember those points when you slip up or want to give up.

“Good things happen when we ask ourselves what we need to create, preserve, eliminate, and accept.” ~Marshall Goldsmith How to Change Your Behavior Book Review of Triggers“Good things happen when we ask ourselves what we need to create, preserve, eliminate, and accept.”

When we adopt new behaviors, we create positive changes. What new habit do you need to create to feel less anxious in the morning? What do you need to do make sure that you get 30 minutes of exercise five days each week? We can also keep what is already going well with your life.

For example, if you enjoy Zumba classes and you’re benefiting from them, don’t abandon that exercise because the trend of the moment is strength training. And all the popular kids say you need to lift. You can try strength training and find out what works for you. But don’t give up on activities that are already working.

Changing the negative may require you to drop the negative. For example, you could remove a stressful situation from your life. If you have a dozen activities that stress you out, get rid of at least one of them.

You can also practice acceptance. Accepting the things that you cannot change helps you face reality and focus on the aspects of your life that you can change.

Your environment has more control over your behavior than you realize.

If you’ve ever worked in retail, you’ll notice how normally nice people turn into jerks at the checkout, especially if you work in high-end stores. You’ll also notice this all over the Internet. This is because our environment can encourage or discourage us from acting in a particular way.

Consider how your environment triggers your behaviors. Is there anything that you need to change or remove from your environment? Is there anything you can add to your environment that will trigger the desired behavior? Before you start your #goals, ask yourself: How does my environment influence my #behavior? Click To Tweet

Ask yourself the right questions and you’ll reach your goals.

Passive questions, Dr. Goldsmith explains, are those questions that describe a static condition. This makes you think about what is being done to you instead of what you are actually doing to achieve your goals. Asking yourself active question shows you how to change your behavior and how hard you are trying. What sounds more engaging?

  • Did I take my vitamins? Or did I do my best to eat right?
  • Have I set my intentions for the week? Did I do my best to meet my intentions today?
  • Do I have my meal plan ready? Did I do my best to comply with my meal plan?

These questions give you a sense of accountability. It ensures you attempt a step towards your goals. For even better results, recruit an accountability buddy to ask you these questions at the end of the day.

Put it into practice: At the end of the day, ask yourself if you did your best to meet each one your goals, individually. Then give yourself a 1 to 10 rating (with 10 being you the best).

AIWATT

How many times have you engaged in a knee-jerk response to an emotional trigger? How many times have you yelled colorful names at a hypothetical jerk who cut you off during your morning commute? How many times have you said something you didn’t mean to a loved one at the end of the day?

If this sounds familiar, ask yourself this: “Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?” Dr. Goldsmith turns the first five words of this saying into the acronym AIWATT. This phrase creates much-needed space and time between an emotional trigger and your response, preventing you from doing things you don’t want to do. “When we dive all the way into adult behavioral change—with 100 percent focus and energy—we become an irresistible force rather than the proverbial immovable object. We begin to change our environment rather than be changed by it. The people around us sense this. We have become the trigger.” Marshall Goldsmith in Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be. Book Review

You are a trigger.

If you ever thought that they key to your goals—and happiness for that matter—was to change someone else’s behavior, consider this: When you consistently work to improve your behaviors and meet your goals, you become a trigger for other people to do the same. You become an inspiration to the people around you.

“When we dive all the way into adult behavioral change—with 100 percent focus and energy—we become an irresistible force rather than the proverbial immovable object. We begin to change our environment rather than be changed by it. The people around us sense this. We have become the trigger.”

Overall, I have found Triggers enjoyable. This book is chock-full of advice on not only how to overcome inertia and work towards your goals; but also how to overcome the negative influences of your environment.

A little bit about the author of the book: Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is an executive coach and author other books such as What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There and Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It and How to Get It Back When You need It.  To learn more about Dr. Goldsmith and get more information on how to change your behavior, click here to visit his website.

Get Back in There: How to get back on track with diet and exercise.

Get Back in There: How to get back on track with diet and exercise.

How to Get Back on Track with Diet and Exercise Goals. No matter how far you strayed off your original path, you can jump back in and pursue your diet and exercise goals. www.vanessastreeter.comHave you given up on your diet and exercise goals? Have you found that your goals were too hard to maintain? Or have you been successful but defaulted back to old patterns? Think there’s no use in trying? It’s normal. Don’t use it as a sign saying to give up.

Chances are you’ve been successful before. But, the momentum becomes hard to maintain. This occurs especially when you’ve achieved your goal and the motivation disappears.

Unfortunately, this is when you relapse into past behaviors and go back to your original set point. That’s because it takes time (lots of time) to undo those patterns that are etched into the brain. So, even when you’ve had success, you need to stay consistent with new behaviors to stay on track.

If you’re hesitant about starting over and wonder how to get back on track with diet and exercise, read on.

Here’s How to Get Back on Track with Diet and Exercise.

You’re never completely starting over.

Losing progress is normal. Most people fall backwards a bit when pursuing their goals. Even if I stopped pursuing your previous goals, you can still learn from them. And when you can learn from your mistakes, you are moving forward not backwards. You may be two steps behind, but you’re not starting with a clean slate.

Remember: Diet and exercise goals are not achieved in a straight line, you spiral upwards. Click To Tweet

What can you learn from your experiences? How can you avoid these experiences in the future?

Get in touch with that initial motivation.

Did your source of motivation change? Do you need to change your goals? If your initial source of motivation doesn’t exist anymore or it was an external motivation like peer pressure, then you should find motivation that meets your values.

Ask yourself this: Are you pursuing these goals because it’s something you really want or enjoy? Before you restart your diet or exercise plans, find foods and activities you find enjoyable. Or, find reasons why dieting will be rewarding.

Don’t take on too much.

If you’re trying to do too much, prioritize your goals. Multiple hard goals split your focus and decrease your willpower.

Choose the goal that will give you the most benefit. Once you achieve that goal or the new behaviors become a breeze, tackle that goal that fell by the wayside.

Turn your excuses around.

Instead of making an excuse not to do something (that is, of course, if they aren’t legitimate), make an excuse to do it. Here’s an example: Turn “I just don’t feel like doing it” to “I will feel better once I do it”.

Do a skill check.

Did you have the necessary skills to do your goal? For example, did you need help learning the proper portion sizes? Or, did you need to learn how to cook more nutritious meals? Did you need to learn how to play a particular sport like tennis? Or, did you need to a personal trainer to show you proper exercise technique at the gym?

If so, make a point right now to upgrade your skills. You’ll feel more confident when you restart your journey.

Here’s an interactive worksheet on how to get back on track with your diet and exercise goals.

Change your environment.

Get rid of your trigger foods. Ask your support system stop unknowingly sabotage you. Ask them to support your diet and exercise efforts. And tell them how. For example, you can start having more active social activities. Consider swimming, training for a 5k or an evening yoga class.

Set up cues that will trigger actions. Set a reminder to fill out a food journal after each meal. Send emails or phone calls to yourself if you don’t meet a specific goal. For example, you can use IFTTT to call or text you.

Here’s an example of a task that can be set up. If I have not worked out in 3 (or insert your number here) days with Jawbone, I can set up a phone call with a message saying, “hey, get back in there.”

Quotes that Will Show You How to Get Back on Track with Diet and Exercise.

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” ~Stephen Covey

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” ~Stephen Covey

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~Thomas A. Edison

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer

 “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

Recommit to your diet and exercise goal.

Write down your goal. Then write down specific actions to take daily. While you’re at it, do something about that goal within 30 minutes. These actions don’t have to be big like running 10 miles a day. Make them small enough to keep up momentum.

  • If you want to lose weight. opt for a lighter meal today. Cut 100 calories from your diet tomorrow.
  • If you want to exercise more, take a short walk. Add your daily exercises to your calendar. Create a ritual around eating and exercise that will turn your actions in a habit.
  • Make it a ritual to add a serving of vegetables to each meal. Take a walk after each meal.
  • Make a habit of eating at a table and not on the couch.

It’s easier to stay motivated when you’re consistent. Make small bits of action a practice every day.

Find a role model.

Find someone who has been there and done, who can show you how to get back on track with diet and exercise goals. Find people who are like you. For example, if you’re not a fitness model, don’t aspire to have the body of one, at least not at first.

Nix the negative self-talk. Pay attention to the thoughts when you feel unmotivated. How can you turn these negative thoughts into positive thoughts? Is there another way of seeing the situation?

  • Turn “it’s useless trying” to “I’m doing the best I can at this moment. I will try again tomorrow.”
  • Turn “I am not good at exercise” to “I am learning and getting better with practice.”
  • Turn “I can’t control myself” to “I briefly lost control but I’m in control now.”

For more information on how to get back on track with diet and exercise, check out these resources.

Why Eating Right and Gym Motivation is Mental – Shape
5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise Regularly – Gaiam Life
Top 25 Fitness Motivational Quotes – American Council on Exercise