Making Behaviour Change Stick

These Four Elements Will Help You Deliver Real Behaviour Change

Organisations regularly implement behaviour/culture change programs without a behaviour change strategy. Often, the positive feedback and good intentions which follow inspirational change events are confused with success, when in reality nothing has changed, other than a new plan and renewed intention to do something.

Studies show that whilst we often know what we want to change and what might be good for us, the pull of habits and the perception of threats associated with change often holds us back. This is true even when faced with the gravest of consequences of our behaviour. So knowing and believing in the change is not necessarily a recipe for success.

Good intentions and a well prepared plan can progressively wither without even a hint of action!

If your change programs are mostly about the ‘what’ of change resulting in the creation of well documented plans, it might be time to start thinking about the ‘how’, which is where the work really begins. Overwhelmingly this about dealing with avoidance, perceived threats and our innate desire for certainty.

Behaviour change is a specific personal skill and mindset that enables people to move from intention to action. By using a combination of evidence based concepts people are helped to develop awareness and build the capability necessary to achieve behaviour change in whatever facet of their lives that is important.

When people say they love change they are referring to the positive possibilities that change may bring. However when there is the possibility of threat or loss such as, for example,  when relationship are impacted, status is threatened or in times of uncertainty, then the ‘bring it on’ attitude can quickly turn into avoidance.

So for your next change program consider the following elements that recognise our natural tendency to avoid threat and to seek out experiences that offer certainty – even when this is at the expense of learning and growth

1. Integrate mindfulness – Mindfulness develops the ability to be purposefully engaged and connect with emotions in order to deal with avoidance. ‘Observing’ emotions that drive behaviour is critical to achieving change and managing stress and anxiety

2. Recognise habits – Understanding habits helps people to see how existing behaviours are being maintained despite the desire for change. Identifying triggers and ‘go to’ behaviours is a critical step towards change

3. Build awareness of ‘ normal’ – Build awareness of psychological and physiological sensations, impulses and fight and flight tendencies that are ‘normal’ but can de-rail the best intentions to take action. Change will be much easier armed with this knowledge

4. Develop passion, purpose and authenticity – Connecting with ‘the person you want to be’ – your inner core – triggers intrinsic motivation by answering the critical question ‘for what am I willing to sustain the discomfort associated with change?’

Practically Mindful programs help teams and individuals develop the skills to map the elements of their personal change to move past avoidance and perceived threats to action and sustainable change.

To book your complementary one hour leadership briefing on our behavioural change program please respond by email or directly on mobile 0407 291038 to Graeme Bye (Organisational Psychologist).

Author: Graeme ByeApril 12, 2018


Graeme Bye is an organisational psychologist with a background in corporate organisations in HR and Leadership Development.

He coaches individuals and teams and includes mindfulness practices and techniques to improve effectiveness, manage stress and achieve focus.