In life, we all make mistakes and wrong decisions that affect not only the course of our lives, but our relationships, as well. After all, we’re only human.
Fortunately, experience allows us to learn from mistakes. However, achieving success and happiness often depend less on making sound choices and more on our ability to change and control our behavior.
The first step, of course, is to recognize impulses that negatively impact our lives. So, how do we change those self-defeating habits to improve our overall wellbeing and the ability to achieve personal goals?
One way is to understand and apply mental health counseling techniques.
9 Strategies For Changing Your Behavior
As a part of practically every form of therapy, mental health counsellors focus on various behavior change strategies that you can apply yourself. These include:
- Consciousness-Raising – This common and simple approach is based on the premise that increasing your knowledge and awareness of an issue enables you to make better decisions. It involves developing new interpretations of your thoughts, feelings, or behavior, realizing the consequences of your behavior or beliefs, learning how to improve your behavior, and obtaining technical information useful in forming new habits.
- Social Liberation – Often, the environment in which you operate can have a positive or negative impact on your behavior. By changing your social environment, you can more easily change your negative behavior. Examples of social liberation include avoiding bars and gambling establishments and moving to areas where your lifestyle is more acceptable.
- Emotional Arousal – This strategy aims to change your behavior by evoking a strong emotional response related to the behavior you want to change. It can be as simple as allowing yourself to acknowledge and feel the full pain of losing a loved one – or a valued relationship – and expressing the emotions you feel.
- Self-Reevaluation – Often, the most effective way of changing your behavior is to consider the kind of person you are compared to the kind of person you want to be. Frank emotional reflection means asking yourself a series of hard questions, such as “How do I negatively perceive myself? How do I see myself once I change my behavior? What are the advantages of overcoming my problematic behavior?”
- Commitment – This incentivizing step in changing your behavior for the better involves sharing your intentions with others, thereby committing your credibility to achieving your goal. It can be as simple as a New Year’s resolution, discussing your efforts with friends and colleagues, or signing up for a social fitness program.
- Countering – When you feel the urge to engage in unhealthy behavior, consciously substitute a healthier behavior instead. For example, if you want to lose weight or improve your health, opt for a healthier food choice than the snack you crave. Likewise, if you’re trying to quit smoking, chew a piece of gum when you’re longing for a cigarette.
- Environment Control – Similar to social liberation, this strategy aims to make behavioral change easier by changing environments that you directly control (your home, your workspace, etc.). You can remove risks – for example, eliminating unhealthy items such as junk food, tobacco, or alcohol from your home – and, instead, making your environment more conducive to your new behavior.
- Rewards – Rewarding yourself for good behavior is one of the most effective ways to change your habits. Indulging yourself upon achieving a behavioral milestone can provide the impetus for ongoing self-improvement.
- Assisting Relationships – Having the support of family members and friends can be an invaluable advantage in your efforts to change your behavior. Confide in them and seek their logistical help and encouragement as a means of strengthening your resolve and making it easier for you to institute the behavioral changes you need to make.
Behavioral Counseling Near You in Denver and Lakewood, Colorado
Any of the above strategies can be helpful, but you may be more successful in changing your behavior by consulting with a licensed cognitive-behavioral therapist who can help you sift through these options and come up with the combination that is best suited to your specific needs.
At Denver Wellness Associates, our team of expertly trained mental health providers are passionate about getting to know you and learning how to best help you manage your behavioral issues or concerns. For more information, contact us today in Denver and Lakewood, Colorado by calling or texting us at (720) 724-3668, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply requesting an appointment by using our interactive online form.