Why do we do the things we do?
This question has always intrigued me. There’s something special about the why vs the what & how. But before I get to deep, let’s breakdown the art of behavior change. For most people, we do things that are good and bad for us.
But why do we do things that we know are bad for us?
On the other hand, why don’t we do things that are good for us?
The theory of planned behavior says that intent or purpose is enough to change behavior. In this case, your intention is explicit, which then generates behaviorally oriented decisions. This means you have a set of goals that you intend to reach by acting a certain way. You plan to do something on purpose.
So at this point, you have a goal.
You have a plan…
You have all the intention you need…
So what’s left?
Perceived Behavioral Control
While the intention is really important, there is another piece to the theory of planned behavior called perceived behavioral control.
In order to gain control of your behavior, you must establish your intent. Next, you need to set a goal and put a plan into place. Then you need to think that you can control your behavior. Once you have your goal and your plan you need to BELIEVE that you can do it. Psychologists have even put a number on how much “perceived behavior control” matters in intention: 45% of the behavioral variance can be predicted by your belief that you have control.
Emotions toward the intent to change mediate the intention-behavior relationship have been validated by frequency and duration correlations. Researchers have found that behavior change is affected by:
- how you feel toward your intention to change
- your attitude toward change
- your social network’s feelings about you changing
- feelings you have about the change
- your intent to change
To give yourself the best chance to change your behavior, you need to:
- Intend to change – with a goal and plan in place.
- Have a positive attitude toward the change you intend to make.
- Surround yourself with people who approve and believe that you should make this change or avoid discussing the topic of with people you know are unsupportive.
- Believe that you are capable. Yes, you can.
- Have a positive attitude toward your intent to change. Believe in the goal and the plan.
Change can be hard. It’s something that truly takes time. The more you can embrace the process and convince yourself to fall in love with the journey, the more enjoyable the journey will become.
Hope this helps!