For example, every morning when you wake up you go to into the bathroom to brush your teeth. The trigger is waking up and getting out of bed and the behaviour is brushing your teeth. The behaviour of brushing your teeth may then trigger the behaviour of getting dressed and so on until you are ready for the day.
Once you’ve decided on your new behaviour, then examine your daily routine for an appropriate trigger to go with that behaviour. The trigger could be an event or something that occurs regularly already in your life. It becomes “if X happens” then “I will do Y”. If you want to drink more water, then choosing to have a glass of water after you go to the washroom may be good trigger because going to the washroom is something that is done repeatedly throughout the day.
This method is also useful when a trigger is an emotion. For instance, if you yell at people every time you feel anger, then the initial feeling of anger is the trigger. Having decided that you want to take 3 deep breathes before responding whenever you feel the anger you would then work at noticing the emotion of anger and at that point would tell yourself to take 3 deep breathes before you responded.
After deciding on the trigger, it is important to mentally rehearse the trigger occurring along with the new behaviour. By picturing the trigger happening and then how you will do the new behaviour will make it easier for you to remember the new behaviour when the trigger does happen.
Action step – Pick your new behaviour, and the trigger. If you feel more comfortable, begin with mentally rehearsing doing the new behaviour every time the trigger occurs. Otherwise, jump in and try doing the new behaviour whenever you notice the trigger.
In my next blog, I will have some more tips to help strengthen the likelihood that the behaviour will occur.
If you want some individual help and support with changing your behaviours or starting a new habit give me a call at 604-375-3010 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org