How replacement behaviour can change your life

Willingly or unwillingly, behaviours are what drives us in our daily lives. They keep us fit and healthy, or run us down, make us study, go to work, buy groceries. Changing these daily patterns, routines and triggers are what we need to in order to change the bottom line. That’s one of the things I work hard to make people understand when it comes to the adoption of a healthy lifestyle: the importance of replacement behaviour.

They compounded to the current result. So by reversing these behaviours, you’ll change your overall lifestyle and can tackle your goal, say getting healthier.

replacement behaviour

This sounds very fancy but actually only describes how one behaviour gets replaced by another (hopefully more positive) behaviour.

This new behaviour might not look like a great change in the grander scheme of a healthy lifestyle but matters a lot in the long run.

Example: replacement behaviour

Let’s say you have an obese person who figured that something needs to happen – now! This person decides to get up and go for a walk for the next hour. The pace is slow and whenever needed a break is taken. If you ask the #instafit or #beastmode fitness gurus, they wouldn’t be too happy with this.

Because it’s not enough movement to matter at all: “You can’t outrun a bad diet. You need to work out until you puke!” are similar unhelpful insights you might get from a cookie-cutter coach. While it’s true that you can’t outrun a bad diet, pushing yourself too far isn’t the point at all.

replacement behaviour

The key insight happened when the moment this person decided to go for a walk. That’s when he or she actively decided not to hang around at home anymore, instead of sitting on the couch, scrolling through Facebook and snacking while at it. This active decision portrays the importance of replacement behaviour.

By saying “yes” to one behaviour, you have to say “no” to another one.

Subtraction by addition

This method of subtracting by addition seems to work well with people. I am no psychologist, but in my personal view and as a coach, to me, the reason why this works well for many is the positive nature of it.

You affirm a positive action and focus on that. In above example the person could have said: “I won’t sit on the couch any longer, scrolling through Facebook and stop snacking”. This is a negative approach and denial takes more effort than affirmation.

replacement behaviour

The fact that this person chose to change one small thing in their daily list of habits and following through with it, is what will reap benefits in the long run. It brings the person one step closer to their goal.

Change takes time

It is going to take some time, but with replacement behaviour framed as a positive affirmation as a base, those changes will have a much bigger chance to succeed because they had turned into a new habit.

Ultimately, those changes will lead to more decisions of this nature and a few more miles down the road this person might not only walk around but prepare for a 5k run.

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