Embracing change is difficult for most people, but positive psychology can help make change easier. Particularly when it comes to making changes for health, diet, and lifestyle, positive psychology can have an extraordinary impact on how successfully people are able to make the desired changes.
Change happens in steps:
- Recognizing the need for change.
- Thinking about making the change.
- Preparing for the change.
- Taking the actions necessary for making the change.
- Continuing the actions of the change in order to create new habits.
- Letting go of the old way.
During each of these steps, positive psychology is a useful tool for encouraging the process of change. In fact, self-regulation, one of the tenets of positive psychology, is critical to making change, because it is the exercise of self-regulation that helps a person take control over the area of life that needs changed.
According to a study from the University of Florida, practicing self-regulation in every area of your life actually makes it easier to apply the concept in the areas of your life in which you have the most difficulty. In the study, participants were taught an exercise program and then required to follow it closely for eight weeks. At the end of the eight week period, not only had their ability to self regulate improved for staying on task with the exercise program, but the habit had carried over into other areas of their lives. Several of the participants were able to consume less junk food and alcohol as well as stop smoking.
If there is a change you are trying to make in your life, the researchers suggest choosing one thing that you can focus your energies on and commit to doing that one thing every day for at least two months. As you build your ability to self-regulate the one change, additional changes will become easier to incorporate.