behavioural change

Why behavioural change doesn’t always happen immediately

You will have been on a training course in the last year, possibly with me 🙂, which you concluded with some specific actions. You thought to yourself, ‘this is a really good idea, which I need to put into practice.’ But then you get back to your work and you forget the actions. Maybe a few weeks or months later you remember them, ‘oh yeah, I was going to do that…’


Why, when we have an action which we really think is a good idea for us, do we not just do it? 


Some of us have the kind of personality which drive us to deliver outputs. We are driven to just get things done. Make decisions, achieve objectives. Typically the drive to achieve work objectives is stronger than that to implement a behavioural change. So whilst we intend to implement the action at the end of the training, when we get back to work the urge to complete work objectives is too strong.

Something happens

Unforeseen events can happen at any time. A new project. Change in staff. A client delivery issue. These things take our minds off our behavioural change action. Still a good action, it’s just slipped down the To Do list, for good reason. It doesn’t mean we can’t come back ot it. But for now it gets relegated to a less urgent pile.

It's too difficult

In theory your behavioural change is a good idea and it’s doable. In practice it’s too much of a change. It’s so easy to underestimate the effort it will take to implement a change. If the action is too difficult, the chances we will do it are reduced.

So what do you do? How do you implement the action?

I’ll answer that in a future post. But for the moment it is important to recognise that there are very good reasons why we don’t implement behavioural change actions. It is normal for stuff to get in the way. What we need to do is learn from what has happened and what has not happened. Even if it is to simply say, this is what I planned on doing and it didn’t get done because of X. Recognising this X is really important and is the first step to improving the chances of behavioural change in the future. If we can say that we didn’t make the change because of X, we are on the way. And this X could be about personality, work priorities, because it is just too difficult, or some other reason.

Next time I will write about interpreting these reasons and working out what to do next. 🙂

Why behavioural change doesn’t always happen immediately