Behaviour change

Relapse prevention and motivation

Steps toward change

It is common to encounter surprises on the way to achieving a behaviour change goal. Even the most well-thought-out plans usually require some adjustments. By giving yourself room to take risks, make mistakes, and apply new knowledge, you'll be able to take challenges in stride and come out stronger than ever.

1

Anticipate obstacles

Occasional setbacks occur no matter how careful you've constructed your plan. Try listing strategies for dealing with challenges before they arise.

2

Monitor your progress

When you first start making changes, you may progress rapidly. By monitoring your progress, you can reflect on how much you've achieved and how far you've come!

3

Reward yourself

Be your own cheerleader, supportive and encouraging, focusing on your achievements rather than your setbacks. Give yourself the recognition you deserve.

4

Visualize success

Take a quiet moment to close your eyes and see yourself engaged in new, more positive health habits. Picture yourself reaching your goals and enjoying the rewards of a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Laws of Behaviour change

"We learn by pushing ourselves and finding what really lies at the outer reaches of our abilities."

-Josh Waitzkin

Law of Self-Esteem

If you start questioning whether you can make the changes to live an active lifestyle, consider getting support from a personal trainer, friends and family and/or online exercise buddies.

Law of Consistency

Consistency and persistence are key to achieving results. Getting off track for a week or so, is no big deal. However, if you are regularly tempted ways from your program, it's harder to build a habit.

Law of Effort

Exercise takes discipline, willpower, character, persistence and a commitment to delayed gratification; but you can do it!

Law of Possession

The ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of your exercise program, is you!

Relapse Prevention and Planning Ahead

Relapsing is something we have to deal with - it is inevitable, due to other demands (family, work), illness, vacation- that result in "missed" physical activity sessions. However, there are also all kinds of reasons why we're less active than we should be. These "reasons" can also be called excuses. The excuses people most often name are:

Lack of Time

If you can't afford large chunks of time, aim for short bouts of activity spaced throughout your day.

Lack of Self-Discipline

Find activities you enjoy. Do this, and you won't have to coax yourself to be active.

Lack of Partner

If you enjoy socializing, join a class or arrange your schedule so you can be active with a neighbour or a friend.

Lack of Activity

If you are interested in trying a new activity, but you are note sure, try taking a lesson.

Potential Barriers

Here are a few barriers you may encounter in your exercise journey:

  • Cost of activity

  • Lack of energy

  • Lack of knowledge

  • Previous negative experience

  • Feeling uncomfortable

  • Previous unsuccessful attempts

  • Fear of injury

  • Low body image

  • Lack of child care

  • Lack of support form others

  • Lack of transportation

  • Others...

It is important to discuss the barriers that may prevent you from ultimately reaching your physical activity goals. Planning ahead for the tough times, may help you to stay active.

Have you ever had trouble maintaining en exercise program that you have previously started?

If you have had difficulty previously, have certain behaviours or actions helped you to get back on track?

What barriers do you anticipate will make it tough to keep up your physical activity routine? How will you handle these situations to increase your chances of being successful?

What will help you get started again if you do have a break?

Have you ever had trouble maintaining an exercise program that you have previously started?

If you have had difficulty previously, have certain behaviours or actions helped you to get back on track?

What barriers do you anticipate will make it tough to keep up your physical activity routine? How will you handle these situations to increase your chances of being successful?

What will help you get started again if you do have a break?

Motivation

Maintaining Motivation and Personal Control

Motivation is an important component of continued physical activity participation. It can be useful to increase your awareness of the reasons that motivate you to increase your physical activity level.

Being active out of a sense of guilt or obligation is a sure-fire recipe for failure. Research shows that the greatest sources of motivation are doing something for:

Fun, enjoyment, stimulation

A feeling of accomplishment

The pleasure of learning or mastering skills

A well-identified benefit such as sleeping better, losing weight, or feeling calmer

How do you motivate yourself to be active?

What is NOT motivating for you in terms of physical activity?

In the past, how have you motivated yourself to be active when you really didn't feel like it?

What health benefits motivate you to be active? 

Feeling better, having more energy, managing stress, feeling healthier, having more confidence, managing weight, feeling strong, looking better, sleeping better, and having fun!

Self-Esteem

 

Higher self-esteem helps us to be better adjusted, to exhibit greater social effectiveness and to accept others as they are. The key to self-esteem is developing self-acceptance and feelings of competence. 

Here are a few ways to improve your self-esteem

Learn to accept your physical build and ability

Focus on mastering a physical task or skill instead of comparing yourself with others

Set simple, achievable goal for a physical activity of your choice

Determine when you will find the time to accomplish your goal

Have a second plan in case something happens

Enjoy the feelings of accomplishment and competence you get as you pursue and achieve your goals.

© 2017 by the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary