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The Six Fundamental Elements of Effective Behavior Change

Af9d3f003300833872b7e598b4a70d43?s=47 jasonshen
February 18, 2013

The Six Fundamental Elements of Effective Behavior Change

Behavior change is hard. But it's possible. Here are some fundamentals that will help with any behavior change effort - whether it's around health, fitness, productivity or something else.

Based on my Skillshare class on "The Science of Willpower, Habits and Behavior Change".

Af9d3f003300833872b7e598b4a70d43?s=128

jasonshen

February 18, 2013
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  1. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS of effective

    behavior change the six @jasonshen
  2. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 2 Let’s start with

    the facts:
  3. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING MOST 3 diets fail

  4. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING MOST 4 inboxes aren’t

    zero
  5. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING MOST 5 meditation efforts

    peter out
  6. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 6 But sometimes...

  7. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING CHANGE HAPPENS 7 But

    sometimes...
  8. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 8 Smokers QUIT FOR

    GOOD
  9. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 9 Smokers QUIT FOR

    GOOD Alcoholics SOBER UP
  10. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 10 Smokers QUIT FOR

    GOOD Alcoholics SOBER UP Couch potatoes SHAPE UP
  11. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING BUT HOW? 11

  12. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 12 Hi, I’m Jason.

  13. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 13 Hi, I’m Jason.

    I’m the cofounder of a tech startup, a former NCAA gymnast & blog at The Art of Ass-Kicking.
  14. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 14 Ironically, I don’t

    think I have a lot of self-discipline. It’s hard for me to work on things I don’t like.
  15. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 15 Ironically, I don’t

    think I have a lot of self-discipline. It’s hard for me to work on things I don’t like. To address this, I’ve read a ton of academic research on how people really change their behavior.
  16. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 16 Ironically, I don’t

    think I have a lot of self-discipline. It’s hard for me to work on things I don’t like. To address this, I’ve read a ton of academic research on how people really change their behavior. But to truly understand, you must teach. So I put together a class based on what I’ve learned.
  17. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 17 In Jan 2012,

    I taught 167 students on Skillshare about The Science of Willpower and Habits
  18. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING How willpower is like

    a limi post-heart surgery. Looking at behavior change like trai stress affects smokers, addicts, and dieters. The three different parts of ou brains. How to strengthen willpower via habits. Why habits allow you to bypass willpower. How exercise improves the plasticity of the brain. The power of “urge surfing” in containing cravings. Rewards and how they target our limbic brain. Avoiding the “what the hell” effect. The biggest mistakes people make when trying to change. How willpower is like a limited resource. The research on lifestyle change post-heart surgery. Looking at behavior change like training a dragon. How stress affects smokers, addicts, and dieters. The three different parts of our brains. Ho to strengthen willpower via habits. Why habits allow you to bypass willpower. How exercise improves the plasticity of the brain. The power “urge surfing” in containing cravings. Rewards and how they target our limbic brain. Avoiding the “what the hell” effect. The biggest mistakes people make when trying to change. How willpower is like a limited resource. The research on lifestyle change post-heart surgery. Looking behavior change like training a dragon. How stress affects smokers, addicts, and dieters. The three different parts of our brains. How to gthen willpower via habits. Why habits allow you to bypass willp ity of the brain. The power of “urge r limb 18 We covered a lot in the class
  19. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING PRACTICAL 19 part of

    the class was the fundamental elements of change But perhaps the most
  20. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 20 10+ years of

    personal behavior change as a student / athlete / entrepreneur 100+ peer-reviewed academic papers 400+ data points from class participants I studied the data...
  21. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 21 10+ years of

    personal behavior change as a student / athlete / entrepreneur 100+ peer-reviewed academic papers 400+ data points from class participants I studied the data... Six elements that appear in nearly every successful behavior change effort ... and found the fundamentals.
  22. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 22 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior
  23. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 23 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior 2) triggers & reminders
  24. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 24 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior 2) triggers & reminders 3) specific actions
  25. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 25 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior 2) triggers & reminders 3) specific actions 4) rewards
  26. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 26 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior 2) triggers & reminders 3) specific actions 4) rewards 5) setting targets
  27. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 27 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior 2) triggers & reminders 3) specific actions 4) rewards 5) setting targets 6) review & recommit
  28. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 28 They are: 1)

    tracking behavior 2) triggers & reminders 3) specific actions 4) rewards 5) setting targets 6) review & recommit We’ll look at each in turn.
  29. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 29 Tracking a behavior

    makes you more likely to do the right thing, and less likely to do the “wrong thing” TRACKING
  30. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 30 A review of

    22 weight loss studies found that: “Consistent self-monitors of exercise not only achieved significantly greater weight loss but also experienced fewer difficulties with exercise and exercised more often.” TRACKING Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature Burke (2011) Journal of the American Dietetic Association Source:
  31. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 31 Moleskin Post-it Notes

    Calendar TRACKING Evernote Lift iDoneThis Paper Options Digital Options
  32. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 32 Use triggers of

    place, time, feelings, other people and prior behaviors to remind/spur yourself to do the right thing. TRIGGERS
  33. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 33 As one student

    from the course said: “Consistent self-monitors of exercise not only achieved significantly greater weight loss but also experienced fewer difficulties with exercise and exercised more often.” TRIGGER
  34. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 34 Place: bathroom, office,

    car Time: waking up, noon, arbitrary alarm Feeling: hunger, stress, fatigue Other People: spouse, boss, kids Prior action: after brushing teeth, eating meal, getting home, starting work TRIGGER
  35. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 35 When you give

    yourself a specific action to take, you are more likely to follow through. Too many choices leads to indecision SPECIFIC ACTION
  36. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 36 A study done

    on legislators responsible for funding (or shutting down) public hospitals: “Legislators were 2.4x more likely to “refuse to choose” when dealing with two underperforming hospitals (64%) vs only one (26%)” SPECIFIC ACTION Medical Decision Making in Situations That Offer Multiple Alternatives Redelmeier Shafir (1995) Journal of the American Medical Association Source:
  37. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 37 Vague: “Work out

    more” Specific: “Run for 30 minutes around the park” Vague: “Eat healthier” Specific: “Make fruit smoothie for breakfast” Vague: “Be more productive” Specific: “Set 3 priorities each day and work for at least 25 mins straight on each one” SPECIFIC ACTION Examples
  38. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 38 Frequent and immediate

    positive feedback is crucial for developing habits and motivating the right behavior. REWARDS
  39. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 39 Rewards tell us

    we’re doing the right thing Habits are developed in the limbic brain which is reinforced by rewards / positive feedback: Imaging on human subjects show dopamine release (pleasure) + increased blood flow in basal ganglia (part of the limbic brain) when presented with potential rewards like winning money or getting food if subject is hungry. REWARDS The Role of the Dorsal Striatum in Reward and Decision-Making Balliene (2007) The Journal of Neuroscience Source:
  40. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 40 Gold stars (really!)

    on your calendar/journal Earning points toward a massage, nice meal, small trip you get for yourself Small purchases/pleasures (buying a game, a bite of chocolate) Victory dance / cry of triumph Bragging on social media Examples REWARDS
  41. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 41 Setting a target

    (a goal + near-term date) focuses you on taking immediate action — and you know you won’t have to do it “forever” TARGETS
  42. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 42 TARGETS Elderly patients

    recovering from difficult hip surgery were given booklets — told to set weekly goals for recovery and make specific plans to achieve them. “Patients who had written plans in their booklets had started walking almost twice as fast as the ones who had not. They started getting in and out of their chairs, unassisted, almost 3x as fast.” Motivational and Volitional Processes in Action Initiation: A Field Study of the Role of Implementation Intentions Orbell (2000) Journal of Applied Social Psychology (Abstract + Summary from The Power of Habit) Source:
  43. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 43 TARGETS Examples “Build

    up to 15 mins of plank, pushups, & yoga each morning over next 30 days” “Run the upcoming Nike Half Marathon without walking” “Complete 100 pomodoro’s on side project by April 1, 2013” Write it down and post it: bathroom mirror, Facebook, to a friend
  44. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 44 After reaching your

    target date/goal, review your progress. What went well? What could be improved? And then make a new plan for the next step of the process. REVIEW & RECOMMIT
  45. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 45 REVIEW & RECOMMIT

    Similar to a software project post-mortem: “A postmortem is a procedure whereby you summarize a project's history and analyzes its positive and negative aspects. The goal of a postmortem is to draw meaningful conclusions to help you learn from your past successes and failures. Despite its grim-sounding name, a postmortem can be an extremely productive method of improving your development practices.” - Steve Pavlina
  46. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 46 Examples “I was

    able to stick to my habit on weekdays, but weekends were tricky - how can I fix this?” “Setting a reminder for a specific time of day wasn’t as effective as when I associated with a pre-existing habit.” “Instead of grabbing dinner with my foodie friends, I should meet up with them for drinks so I’m not tempted.” “I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. It’s been hard but worth it. I’m going to set a new goal for the next quarter” REVIEW & RECOMMIT
  47. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING TRIGGER ACTION REWARD TRACKING

    TARGET REVIEW & RECOMMIT THE FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE BEHAVIOR CHANGE Learn more at jasonshen.com
  48. Jason Shen THE ART OF ASS-KICKING 48 THANK YOU Jason

    Shen jasonshen.com