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Healthy Behavior Changes

Here in this post, we are discussing “Healthy Behavior Changes”.  You can read more about psychology-related material on our website. Keep visiting Psychology Roots.

Now, hands up if you’ve ever considered making a change to your daily routine in the name of improving your health. Most of us, I think it’s safe to assume, would be able to answer that question with a yes. This may have included making changes to one’s diet, such as eating more veggies, drinking less alcohol, sleeping more, being more physically active, or eating less baked goods and ice cream (no disrespect to baked goods and ice cream; I believe that moderation in all things is key). I’m going to presume that you are familiar with the feeling of wanting to make positive changes to your lifestyle for the sake of your health, whether or not you have done so in the past.

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Healthy Behavior Changes
Healthy Behavior Changes

However, suppose you wished to alter more than one facet of your health.

Is it wise to attempt changing not just one, but two behaviours simultaneously? This same topic has recently been the focus of an experimental research. What is this so significant? Actually, the study’s authors said, experts have been focusing on the process of changing a single part of lifestyle (such as exercising more), leaving the process of changing many behaviours as an open question.

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Since there haven’t been any large-scale studies to evaluate the efficacy of goal prioritising, the study team said they tried it out. The researchers concluded by emphasising that they are taking a side-by-side look at two psychological theories about behaviour modification: According to the first theory, a person can only focus on one healthy change at a time since doing so would deplete their reserves and make it impossible to also focus on the second change. A person’s mentality about the available options informs the second notion, which postulates that they can make two health adjustments at once.

More than 1,400 participants were split at random among four groups and observed for two months by the study team. Some participants were randomly assigned to one of two “control” groups, and they were asked to fill out solely the expenditure or health-related questionnaires. People in the second experimental group changed one or two health-related behaviours with the help of goal prioritising coaching. To be more precise, participants in these groups were asked to choose one or two health-related behaviours from a list of six in order to concentrate on for the length of the study (these involved exercising, flossing, eating vegetables and fruit, eliminating unhealthy food, avoiding alcohol, and changing sedentary behavior). Participants in these control groups also discussed briefly how they planned to prioritise their selected health habits.

The study’s authors determined that the goal prioritising strategy was effective in encouraging participants to adopt healthier behaviours. People in the research were able to work on two different healthy behaviours at once without compromising on either one or letting the other one go to the wayside. Those who focused on improving two facets of their lives did better than those who focused on improving only one.

Success was shown no matter which two behaviours were prioritised (among these six). In other words, focusing two healthy improvements may be better than one, contrary to the belief that you can harm your success if you don’t commit to changing just one part of your lifestyle.

Conclusion

Having said that, the researchers were honest enough to admit that their study is preliminary and more work has to be done to examine a broader spectrum of healthy lifestyle choices. They also noted that further research is required to determine the generalizability of these findings, given that participants who saw the study through to completion tended to be older and more educated than those who dropped out. Nonetheless, these findings provide a starting point for a novel approach of considering and pursuing health.

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