Our behaviour is what defines our character. It is who we are. Many people often refer back to the saying, ‘actions speak louder than words,’ because it sums up how we make considered judgement about one another. Behaviour is the cornerstone of our society, and it should come as no surprise that creating positive behavioural change is key to making successful transitions from one chapter of your life to another.
It used to be a long-held belief that if you changed your thinking around a particular subject or area of your life, you could step out of your old limiting ways of being and everything would fall neatly into place. There is some truth to this line of thinking, but it’s merely one half of a larger concept. Changing your thinking will only get you so far. Eventually, you need to take action. Your thinking obviously informs your behaviour, but that is the end destination you’re aiming for. The great leaders of the world didn’t create change by thinking about it. They accomplished what they did by putting their thoughts in motion.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been leading the way in this regard for well over 30 years, now. The reason it’s been so effective in giving people positive outcomes is because it bridges the gap between thinking and doing. In a sense, it’s a holistic form of psychotherapy that encourages you to look beyond the confines of what’s holding you back and make gradual and incremental changes. Over time, this amounts to significant leap forward in your ability to apply yourself, positively.
The way this is achieved is by creating valued outcomes. There has to be some compelling reason to want to change. If there is no impetus or anything at stake, the chances of seeing any course of treatment to the end are slim. Your success is largely going to rest on the goals you set for yourself, and the emotional impact not achieving them will have on your life going forward.
The biggest way you can affect change is two-fold. You can make lifestyle changes and in doing so also change your environment. This can’t be overstated and is key to your success. For example, if you have an issue with gambling addiction, you’re not going to improve your behaviour by placing yourself in the same environment every day where the temptation exists to indulge in your habit. If this happens mainly when you’re drinking in the pub, you need to make lifestyle changes – at least temporarily – that will facilitate making this positive change in your behaviour.
It’s wrong to speak in absolute terms in any area in life. There is always some perspective new to be discovered. But at present, the clearest way forward for a multitude of mental health issues stretching from anxiety all the way to eating disorders is through positive behavioural changes.