Blijvende gedragsveranderingen creëren: begin met de kracht van Appreciative Inquiry
Did you gain weight?
It’s a familiar scenario for many: a visit to the doctor’s office reveals high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Or just a ‘friend’ asking you if you gained weight recently 🙁 Both situations that are triggering you to start a healthy lifestyle…again.
Motivated and determined, you embark on a journey to improve your health, perhaps by adopting a new diet or committing to a gym membership. However, despite your initial enthusiasm, the momentum often fades, and old habits creep back in. This cycle is all too common, but what if I told you (from my own experience) there was a way to break it? Before creating all kinds of goals you cannot skip decisionmaking face, the exploring. It is so important not to rush into the goal setting. Before you do anything I would first like to dive into a theory I love: Appreciative Inquiry – a powerful tool that focuses on your strengths, values, and positive experiences to help you create sustainable behavior changes in a positive way.
Understanding the Challenge:
It’s so crucial to acknowledge the challenges inherent in making lasting lifestyle changes. Often, we act impulsively based on low-end emotions, fueled by external comments or health concerns. However, the key lies in addressing your strengths, ambivalence, understanding the stage of change you’re in, and processing your thinking goals first. It is better to stay in the being, thinking and exploring phase first. I know, you want to get on with it but that’s what always happenes and it doesnt get us far most of the time, right?
Appreciative Inquiry: Shifting Focus to Strengths
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an approach that centers on positive experiences, strengths, and aspirations. Instead of fixating on problems or weaknesses, AI encourages individuals to explore their best moments, values, strengths, and future desires. This shift in perspective can be a game-changer when it comes to sustainable behavior change.
- Reflecting on Best Experiences:
Begin the journey by reflecting on the positive aspects of your health and well-being journey. What were the moments when you felt your best? What was it you did back then? Is this something you can do again? These could be instances of successfully overcoming challenges, adopting healthier habits, or feeling a sense of accomplishment. Write down these experiences to create a foundation for your future goals.
- Identifying Values and Strengths:
Understanding your core values and strengths is integral to creating lasting change. What values are most important to you, and how do they align with your health goals? Similarly, what strengths do you possess that can support your journey to better health? Whether it’s resilience, discipline, or compassion, recognizing and leveraging these strengths is crucial.
- What Gets You Energized:
Consider the activities that energize you and contribute positively to your well-being. Whether it’s a specific type of exercise, a particular meal, or moments of relaxation, incorporating these energizing elements into your routine can make the journey more enjoyable and sustainable.
- Articulating Three Wishes:
Envisioning the future is a powerful motivator. What three wishes do you have concerning your health goals? These wishes serve as beacons, guiding your actions and decisions. Whether it’s achieving a specific fitness milestone, maintaining a balanced diet, or reducing stress, articulating your desires provides clarity and purpose.
The Power of a Supportive Team:
While individual reflection through Appreciative Inquiry is transformative, the support of a team can enhance the effectiveness of sustainable behavior change. Surround yourself with individuals who understand your goals, share similar aspirations, and can provide encouragement during challenging times.
Incorporating Action Steps:
Once you’ve laid the foundation through Appreciative Inquiry, it’s time to introduce action steps. However, unlike traditional approaches that overwhelm with numerous changes at once, consider a gradual and realistic progression. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable steps, ensuring that each step aligns with your values, strengths, and positive experiences.
Acknowledge and celebrate every success, no matter how small. By recognizing and appreciating the progress you make, you reinforce positive behaviors and create a sense of accomplishment. This positive reinforcement becomes a driving force in sustaining behavior change over the long term.
Creating sustainable health changes is a multifaceted journey that extends beyond simply adopting new habits. By starting with looking at what worked in the past, what your values are, what makes your energylevel go up and what you wish for in your future, individuals can shift their focus to strengths, positive experiences, and aspirations, laying the groundwork for lasting transformation. Combine this approach with the support of a team and gradual, realistic action steps, and you’ll find yourself on a path to improved health that endures the test of time. Remember, it’s not about a quick fix; it’s about a lifelong commitment to your well-being.
There are a lot of great methods that I love besides AI but for me this is alway a great one to start with because it focusses on the positives.