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Changing my bad habits: I really mean it this time…I swear! Camillo Zacchia, Ph.D. Psychologist April 16, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Changing my bad habits: I really mean it this time…I swear! Camillo Zacchia, Ph.D. Psychologist April 16, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing my bad habits: I really mean it this time…I swear! Camillo Zacchia, Ph.D. Psychologist April 16, 2013

2 The fat-man speaks Like all of you, I have not mastered all my own bad habits!! …nevertheless…

3 A Century and a half

4 Bad habits TOO MUCH –Cigarettes –Alcohol –Drugs –Spending –Work –Food –Sex –Etc… NOT ENOUGH –Exercise –Study –Fiber –Flossing –Sex –Etc…

5 What is Motivation? A circular definition: When we have the motivation to do something, we do it. When we don’t do something…well, we simply weren’t motivated. In other words, motivation is the force that makes us act in a certain way. (…the process by which behavior is activated and directed… (P.T. Young) )

6 Are you thirsty? Very much Not at all A little

7 The motivation twins Motivation = Need / Effort The greater the need and the lesser the effort required to satisfy that need, the more likely we are to be motivated to act.

8 Habit begets habit The more you do something, the more likely you are to do it again. –This implies that changes become strengthened over time. Unfortunately, it also implies that long-standing behaviours are harder to alter!

9 Need (drive) Increases in certain areas increase behaviour: –Internal pressure (hunger, thirst, etc..). –External pressure (social, financial, etc.) –Habit Decreases in factors that inhibit drives will also increase behaviour: –E.g., removing social scrutiny, striking police… Motivation = Need / Effort

10 Effort Factors that decrease the effort required will lead to increases in behaviour: –Presence of stimuli around you (e.g., a bowl of chips on the coffee table requires little effort to consume and therefore increases the likelihood of eating) –Strong habits require almost no effort Factors that result in an increased effort will lessen behaviour Motivation = Need / Effort

11 Ask yourselves What changes do I need to make in my life and my circumstances that will make it easier to do the things I want to…and harder to do the things I don’t?

12 Heart vs Mind (or more accurately, Brain vs Brain) We need both emotion and reason working in balance in order to survive and function well. Motivation = Need / Effort

13 Heart (emotion) An emotion is a call to action. Emotional responses are quick and usually meant to drive behaviours that help us survive. They are, by nature, protective. –Hunger, thirst, anger, sexual arousal, fear… They tend to be short-lived When we are in an emotional state, reason takes a back seat (often even in another room). Motivation = Need / Effort

14 Mind (reason) Rational thought is what allows humans to plan ahead and appreciate the longer term consequences of actions It is our normal state of being, except at times when our emotions take over (i.e., it dominates when emotion is low) Motivation = Need / Effort

15 General Principles Be aware of principles that help you use both your heart and your mind to their fullest benefit

16 Stimulus Control Give yourself little choice Be aware of the circumstances around you and how you respond to them Portions Availability Surroundings Hassle Beware of chains of events Motivation = Need / Effort

17 Social pressure Tell people Motivation = Need / Effort

18 Goal setting Make them realistic Make them incremental Beware of perfectionnism and excessive drive The stepladder in the soft earth (Don’t look up too far. Wait until the next step gets closer.) Motivation = Need / Effort

19 Stop and think (Watch the auto-pilot) What difference would ten years make? What kind of old man or old lady do you want to be? What are the long-term consequences for that relationship? Motivation = Need / Effort

20 A few problem areas!

21 Procrastination Why put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow? “Alcohol is a motherf…er”: Skip ahead to get started Stop kidding yourselves (don’t go to a party and expect to work later…duh) Sacred rules (exceptions can trigger return to old ways) Don’t train yourself to hate it. STOP EVEN IF YOU ARE ON A ROLL!!!!! Use bits of time Keep at it! Motivation = Need / Effort

22 Overeating Diets do not work and never will! (could you really live without bread for the rest of your life?) Focus on making permanent changes Why do cookies spoil Timmy’s meal? Satiety, vagus nerves and time Twice the food for only a dollar more! How much would you pay to lose a pound? How much do you hope to save when gaining it? Stuffed pantries Motivation = Need / Effort

23 …overeating Peak Freans v. Fudgee-Os, Pudding Pops v. Fudge-Sicles, Margarine v. Butter (Find a replacement that is OK but not repulsive) Coffee cream, sugar and salt. –Some changes are permanent (amount of food) –Others only require a period of adjustment and then disappear (salt, sugar, cigarettes) Motivation = Need / Effort

24 Smoking First step: Smoke a cigarette Step 2: Repeat 150,000 times Social pressure: Why were you sick at first? Use social pressure in your favour just as you did when you started. Cost (how expensive is that dream vacation? How about your new teeth?) Stop and think (connect to the helpful emotion) Lifesign (breaking the link between stimulus and behaviour) A no-brainer! Motivation = Need / Effort

25 Drinking Controlled drinking versus total abstinence Speed of drinking Keeping the bar stocked If you spend time with a drinker, don’t expect to control yourself Motivation = Need / Effort

26 Spending Control access to money (cash in wallet, credit cards) Use social pressure to your advantage (review spending with others) Stop kidding yourself (keep an accurate record for a month or two) Motivation = Need / Effort

27 Exercise Maintenance should be the goal (because you have all gotten started many times!) Why do you want it? What will your future be like? Any goal is a good start (trivial steps are never trivial if they lead to bigger steps) Don’t wait for it to be fun, or for perfect weather Team up If you like high-tech, go high-tech (unless previous slide was about you) Make sure you get past the second month (and the second season) It is better to feel good than to smell good! Motivation = Need / Effort

28 What was my goal for my 51 st and subsequent birthdays? To be able to sit down once again

29 Mental Health Info: Blog: Questions ? Website:

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