Why Behavior Change is Difficult to Sustain?

Why Behavior Change is Difficult to Sustain?

Changing behavior can be a difficult process, both mentally and physically. Trying to sustain these changes in behavior can often seem impossible. It is hard to stay motivated and consistent, and often times people give up too quickly. This guide explains why behavior change can be difficult to sustain and provides actionable steps to help readers successfully implement behavior changes into their daily life.

Behavior change involves adopting new behaviors in order to replace unhealthy ones. This type of change requires effort, commitment, and dedication, and it can be difficult to stay on track. People who are trying to make changes in their lives need to be committed to the process and willing to put in the work. Additionally, even when they feel like they are making progress, there will be setbacks that can derail their progress. This is why it is so important to find ways to stay motivated and support oneself throughout the process.

When attempting to initiate a behavior change, it is also important to understand the goals and motivations behind wanting to make this change. Having a clear understanding of the desired outcome can provide motivation and direction in order to maintain consistency. Once the goals are determined, readers will be able to start thinking about the steps they need to take in order to achieve these goals.

Finally, changing behavior is not an overnight process, and it requires patience and perseverance in order to achieve desired results. Successful behavior changes cannot be sustained without consistent effort and support. With the right strategies, readers can learn how to change their behaviors and sustain these changes long-term.

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    Identify and Understand Your Goals

    Making decisions to change your behavior is a big step and can be difficult to sustain. Before you take that leap, it is important to identify and understand the goals you want to accomplish. By setting out clear goals and understanding your motivation, you can craft a plan that works for you.

    First, think about why you want to change your behavior. What is your end goal? Is it to improve your physical health? To increase your productivity? To feel more content? Answering these questions can help you narrow down your focus and solidify your motivations.

    It is also important to consider how realistic these goals are - without setting yourself up for failure. Make sure your goals are clearly defined and specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART). For example, ""I will exercise three times a week"" is a much more concrete and attainable goal than ""I will be more active"".

    Finally, think about the resources you need in order to reach these goals. You may need additional information, materials, or people to support you. Once you have identified and understood your goals, you can move on to create a plan to help you achieve them.

    Establish Habits

    Creating new habits can be a difficult process, but it is essential for successful behavior change. Establishing a positive habit can replace an old bad habit, and initiate a more lasting behavioral change. To set yourself up for success, it is important to keep track of any progress made and measure it against your original goals.

    The key to forming new habits is to start small and make a plan. Break down the desired habit into steps that are achievable. Additionally, it is helpful to identify a specific time to perform the newly formed habit such as after work every day, or on weekends. Once you’ve established a few steps and a specific time to practice a new habit, commit to yourself and take action.

    Once you have committed to a new habit, keep track of your progress. Writing down your progress can help to stay motivated and assess positive and negative changes. Furthermore, tracking progress helps you to see where you stand in accomplishing your behavior change. Having something tangible to refer to can be a great way to encourage yourself and stay true to your goal.

    Surround Yourself with Support

    Changing behaviors can be a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be one you need to do alone. Social support can be a great way to help make sure behavior change sticks in the long run.

    Friends, family members and colleagues can all be of assistance when trying to implement a change in behavior. They can provide encouragement when you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, as well as help hold you accountable. Having someone who understands and empathizes with your struggle can be extremely beneficial when it comes to staying on track with your new behaviors.

    Having a support system is also important for dealing with any roadblocks you may encounter. When obstacles arise, it can be helpful to have someone to offer their perspective and help you stay focused on the end goal. They can also be there to remind you of what you set out to achieve - something that can often be hard to remember when life gets busy or challenging.

    Finally, it’s important to recognize that not everyone will be as supportive of the changes you are trying to make, so don’t be discouraged. Remember, it’s your change to make and the only opinion that truly matters is your own. So don’t forget to rely on yourself for motivation and support too!

    Obtain Knowledge

    The key to forming a sustainable behavior change is knowledge. By understanding the ins and outs of why and how behavior changes occur, you can create a plan to work toward your goals. There are many resources available online to learn more about behavior change, including blogs, articles, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

    Additionally, there are books written on this subject matter. Doing research and gaining an understanding of what has worked well for others can help you build your own effective strategy. Many people have encountered similar issues and succeeded in changing their behavior; learning from their experiences is invaluable.

    You may also wish to consult a medical professional or a therapist if the behaviors you are attempting to change stem from deeper emotional issues. A professional can offer advice and provide resources tailored to your specific needs.

    Gaining knowledge about successful behavior change is an important step in the process of creating sustained behavior change. Use all the tools available to you, so that you can develop a personalized strategy that will set you up for success.

    Personalizing Your Plan

    Creating an individualized plan to help you sustain successful behavior changes is extremely important. Everyone’s unique situation and goals are different, and a ‘one size fits all’ plan simply won’t work. Identifying your motivations, setting realistic and achievable goals, creating a strategy that works for you, and having the right mindset are all essential factors when it comes to keeping up with changing behaviors.

    It is important to clearly identify your end goal and determine what it is that you want to accomplish with changing your behavior in the first place. Ask yourself – What do I want? Why am I doing this? What will success look like for me? You may even find it helpful to break down your goal into smaller, more achievable objectives and milestones.

    When designing your plan, consider what methods would best suit your lifestyle and preferences. Are you a visual learner or an auditory learner? Do you prefer a set schedule or a more flexible approach? Do you do better with rewards or punishments? Once you have identified these details, create a plan that is tailored towards your individual needs and aim to make it as specific as possible.

    For instance, if one of your goals is to save money, start by gathering your financial information and setting a budget. Then decide on a simple, practical way to track your progress. Could you use a tracking app or spreadsheet? Is there someone who can help you stay accountable? Lastly, set realistic deadlines for yourself but make sure not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet them.

    Keep in mind, personalized plans can change over time. We live in an ever-changing world and the plan that works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. Therefore, it is important to stay flexible and open to making changes when necessary.

    Manage Stress/Avoid Excuses

    One of the main reasons why behavior change is so difficult to sustain is because of stress. In addition to the internal struggle of changing a habit, external factors such as work or family obligations can make it hard to maintain a new routine. It can be easy to give up when things become too difficult, so it’s important to recognize the warning signs of stress and take action early on.

    It’s helpful to practice stress-relieving activities like mediation, yoga, or breathing exercises. Additionally, be sure to take breaks throughout the day and analyze your thoughts and emotions. This can help identify any potential underlying issues that may be contributing to the feeling of stress. Once you’re aware of what’s causing your stress, it will be easier to develop coping skills and strategies to help you in the future.

    It’s also common for people to make excuses to skip out on their goals. We might tell ourselves “I don’t have time” or “I’m too tired” and use these as reasons to give up. However, it’s important to stay focused on the goal at hand and push past those excuses. Try writing down and visualizing your goals every day, and reminding yourself of why you want to achieve them. You can also try breaking down bigger goals into smaller goals, so that the process of achieving them does not seem so daunting.

    Celebrate Small Wins

    Making a change in behavior can be difficult, and it’s important to take the time to celebrate the small wins. It is important to recognize and reward yourself for your successes no matter how small they seem. Not only will this help to keep you motivated, but it can also act as a reminder of the progress you have already made.

    Small wins can come in different forms, such as taking the time to remember the reasons why you wanted to make a change in the first place. It could be as simple as congratulating yourself for taking the initiative to start. Celebrate each step that you take to get closer to your goals, whether it’s finally getting out of bed on those days that you don’t feel like it or being able to say no to a tempting offer.

    It’s good practice to keep track of a few Milestones that you would like to achieve. This can be done in the form of a journal or a checklist. Whenever you achieve one of these milestones, be sure to celebrate and reward yourself. Even if you do not reach your goal right away, it's still important to recognize the progress you have made along each step of the way.

    Finally, find ways to reward yourself that do not involve returning to old habits. This could be something as simple as taking time for yourself or spending time with friends. Making sure to give yourself a reward for all of the work that you put in is a good way to keep up morale and stay focused on the changes you want to make.

    Celebrating small wins during the process of behavior change can go a long way in helping you remain motivated and on track for achieving your goals. It is important to remember that progress takes time and that making small changes can still lead to big results.

    Flexibility is Key

    When attempting to make a change in behavior, it is important to remain flexible and be prepared to adapt as needed. Change can be difficult in any circumstance, and sometimes life throws us a curveball that can make things unpredictable. It is important to accept these changes and use them to our advantage when striving to sustain our desired behavior.

    When unexpected changes occur, it is essential to take some time to pause and reflect on the new situation. Ask yourself questions such as: How will this change affect my behavior change goals? What can I do to ensure that the change won't interfere with my progress? Taking this time to thoughtfully assess the situation can help to devise a plan that will not only get you back on track but will also help you stay motivated and maintain a healthy attitude towards achieving your goals.

    Although it can be difficult to shift the focus of an existing plan, it can also be beneficial to use changes as an opportunity to think outside the box. Instead of merely adjusting the plan to fit the new circumstances, look for ways to potentially use the new information to further your success. Think of potential benefits that the change may bring and brainstorm strategies for how you can use them to your advantage.

    It is important to keep in mind that adapting to a change can come with a range of emotions. Make sure to give yourself permission to experience these emotions without judgment and talk to someone if you need additional support. While it can be difficult and can require a lot of effort, a change in behavior can still be achieved despite unexpected changes. Staying flexible and taking the necessary steps to use these changes to your advantage will set you up for success.

    Monitoring Progress

    When it comes to initiating and sustaining successful behavior change, one of the most important factors is being able to monitor progress. Monitoring progress can help keep us motivated, and help us stay on track. When it comes to monitoring progress, there are a few things you can do.

    • Set realistic goals - It is important to be realistic about the goals you set for yourself. Setting too lofty of a goal can easily lead to discouragement. Set goals that you can accomplish, and celebrate every small success along the way.
    • Create reminders - Building reminders into your daily routine can help remind you of the goals you have set for yourself, as well as provide extra motivation and reinforcement. For example, if your goal is to exercise three times a week, create an alarm or a sticky note on your computer to remind you.
    • Track Your Progress - Keeping track of your progress can help give you a tangible view of how far you’ve come and the progress you’ve made. This can be done in numerous ways, such as a chart or graph, and even taking pictures of the positive changes you’ve achieved. Seeing this progress can also give you extra motivation.
    • Reward Yourself - Rewarding yourself for reaching specific milestones can be very beneficial. Celebrate small wins throughout your journey, no matter how small they are. This will help keep you motivated and help solidify good behaviors.

    Monitoring your progress is an essential step in successful behavior change. Regularly reflecting on your progress and celebrating successes can help to maintain motivation and reinforce the desired behaviors.

    Reframing Setbacks

    At some point on our journey to initiate behavior change, we may hit a few bumps along the way. We may become discouraged and start to think that it’s all too difficult. This is when it is important to remember that these setbacks are normal and it is how we reframe them that will determine our success in the end.

    Instead of seeing a setback as a failure or a roadblock, we need to learn from the experience and use it as an opportunity to grow. We should start by reframing our thinking and believing that anything is possible if we put in the work. It also helps to take a step back and assess the situation objectively. Taking the time to reflect on what went wrong and identify why will help us develop a more robust strategy for future successes.

    We can also use any failures or shortcomings as motivation. It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go as planned, but if we channel our energy into finding solutions we can turn our losses into valuable lessons. When looking for solutions, it helps to get creative and think outside the box. This can be achieved by researching the latest strategies and talking to people who have been successful in similar situations.

    Lastly, it is important to be kind to ourselves and practice self-compassion. Too often we are our own worst critics, so instead of focusing on what hasn’t gone right try to focus on what has gone well. The more we practice self-compassion the easier it is to bounce back and try again. That being said, it’s also important to know when to reach out for support. Having a support system such as family and friends can be invaluable during times of disappointment.

    In the end, setbacks are a natural part of life. Learning how to reframe them and use them to our advantage can be the key to achieving and sustaining long-term behavior change. By actively seeking solutions, exercising compassion towards ourselves, and building a strong support network, we can turn any setback into a success story.


    Changing our behaviors is never easy. It requires motivation and dedication, a strong support system, and an understanding of why we are making the change in the first place. Throughout this guide, we have discussed ways to overcome challenges and sustain long-term behavior change.

    To recap, we explored how to identify and understand your goals, establish habits, obtain knowledge, surround yourself with support, personalize your plan, manage stress and excuses, celebrate small wins, be flexible, monitor progress, and reframe setbacks. All of these strategies can be helpful when it comes to sustaining a lasting behavior change.

    By taking small steps and staying positive, you can create lasting behavior change that will have a real impact on your life. Remember to always stay focused on your goal and ask for help or advice when it is needed. With hard work, dedication, and the tools provided in this guide, you can initiate and sustain successful behavior change. Good luck!

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