Lifestyle Read Time: 3 min

Changing Unhealthy Behaviors

Most Americans know the fundamentals of good health: exercise, proper diet, sufficient sleep, regular check-ups, and no smoking or excessive alcohol. Yet, despite this knowledge, changing existing behaviors can be difficult. Look no further than the New Year Resolution, 80% of which fail by February.1

Generally, negative motivations are inadequate to effect change. (“I need to quit smoking because my spouse hates it.”) Motivation needs to come from within and be positively oriented. (“I want to quit smoking so I can see my grandchildren graduate.”)

Goals must be specific, measurable, realistic and time-related. In other words, “I am going to exercise more” is not enough. You need to set a more defined goal, e.g., “I am going to walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week.”

Permanent Change is Evolutionary, not Revolutionary

As a rule, individuals travel through stages on their way to permanent change. These stages can’t be rushed or skipped.

Phase one: Precontemplation. Whether through lack of knowledge or because of past failures, you are not consciously thinking about any change.

Phase two: Contemplation. You are considering change, but aren’t yet committed to it. To help you move through this phase, it may be helpful to write out the pros and cons of changing your behavior. Examine the barriers to change. Not enough time to exercise? How could you create that time?

Phase three: Preparation. You’re at the point of believing change is necessary and you can succeed. When making plans it’s critical to begin anticipating potential obstacles. How will you address temptations that test your resolve? For instance, how will you decline a lunch invitation from work colleagues to that greasy spoon restaurant?

Phase four: Taking action. This is the start of change. Practice your alternative strategies to avoid temptation. Remind yourself daily of your motivation; write it down if necessary. Get support from family and friends.

Phase five: Maintenance. You’ve been faithful to your new behavior. Now it’s time to prevent relapse and integrate this change into your life.

Remember, this process is not a straight line. You may fail, even repeatedly, but don’t let failure discourage you. Reflect on why you failed and apply that knowledge to your efforts going forward.

1. NYTimes.com, January 25, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |
 

Related Content

All Muni Bonds Are Not Created Equal

All Muni Bonds Are Not Created Equal

Gaining a better understanding of municipal bonds makes more sense than ever.

Do You Owe The AMT?

Do You Owe The AMT?

If you want to avoid potential surprises at tax time, it may make sense to know where you stand when it comes to the AMT.

A Fruitful Retirement: Social Security Benefit

A Fruitful Retirement: Social Security Benefit

Taking your Social Security benefits at the right time may help maximize your benefit.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Whole Life Insurance Can Be an Asset For Balance

Even if you didn’t grow up on a farm, you’ve heard, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Why Medicare Should Be Part of Your Retirement Strategy

How Medicare can address health care needs in your retirement strategy.

How to Spend Again After Saving

When people save, it brings life rewards. But sometimes after being on your best money behavior for a long time, you want to cut loose and spend. It can happen whether you’ve been saving to buy a home, rejoined the workforce or survived a global pandemic.

View all articles

Bi-Weekly Payments

This calculator estimates the savings from paying a mortgage bi-weekly instead of monthly.

Contributing to an IRA?

Determine if you are eligible to contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA.

Long-Term-Care Needs

Determine your potential long-term care needs and how long your current assets might last.

View all calculators

5 Smart Investing Strategies

There are some smart strategies that may help you pursue your investment objectives

Your Cash Flow Statement

A presentation about managing money: using it, saving it, and even getting credit.

Principles of Preserving Wealth

How federal estate taxes work, plus estate management documents and tactics.

View all presentations

When Do You Need a Will?

When do you need a will? The answer is easy: Right Now.

Emerging Market Opportunities

What are your options for investing in emerging markets?

What Can a Million Dollars Buy You?

$1 million in a diversified portfolio could help finance part of your retirement.

View all videos