Creating Moral Measures

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When it comes to establishing habits and routines that help you reach your dreams while also honoring your values, there is a tendency to turn them into moral measures when they should have no bearing on your virtue in the first place.  Too often, people will interpret their failure to exercise for a few days or if they eat a few unhealthy meals in a row as a behavior that makes them a "bad person." These set backs in behaviors shouldn't be compared to qualities that cause harm to others or violate pillars of your faith.

Incorrectly creating these moral measures can either tell yourself that you're a bad person or that you're a good person. Telling yourself you're a bad person can lead to depression and accelerate your decline in other habits you may be wanting to form. Telling yourself you're a good person might lead to judging other who do or don't participate in the same activities, unjustly.

Informational and Transformational Learning

There are two types of learning that occur in development stages of adulthood.

Informational Learning: This type of learning is when a person learns a new skill. 

Transformational Learning: This type of learning is when a person can alter how they see something and often see a bigger perspective.

The first is more horizontal thinking and the latter is more vertical thinking. It seems the more you can learn horizontally, the more opportunity you have to learn vertically.  Both of these learnings cause a person to evaluate the way they see themselves within their current environments. If a person doesn't like their identity within their current environment, they look for making a change.


Williams, Patrick, and Diane Susan. Menendez. Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute for Life Coach Training. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 76-79. Print.

Proschaka's Six Stages

From the field of addiction counseling, James Prochaska researched and developed a theory of readiness for change in people that is pretty well defined. The six stages are also a useful exercise to consider when thinking about behavior design in your product.

 

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation

During this stage people are unaware for their need to change. Using assessment data that is specific to that user can help raise the awareness for change.

Stage 2: Contemplation

People are considering making a change when in this stage, but are often unsure how to proceed. They often struggle with whether making a change or taking action is worth it and will get stuck weighing the pros and cons of making a change.

Stage 3: Preparation

A person moves to gathering information, and lining up resources, or gathering options in order to make a change. This stage is a pivotal transition from thinking (Stage 2) to doing (stage 4). This is where a product or service can play a pivotal role in facilitating behavior change in individuals.

Stage 4: Action

This stage is where a person is actually trying new things and taking action.

Stage 5: Maintenance

Persisting with an action long enough for it to become a habit or routine is the hallmark of this stage. making minor modifications or tuneups to a persons plan based on their environment is key.

Stage 6: Termination

This term is used to simply signify that the person no longer needs any kind of programatic system to help facilitate change because key actions have successfully become a natural part of their lifestyle.

These six stages are not always linear and a person could be in multiple stages at the same time while addressing multiple behaviors. 


Williams, Patrick, and Diane Susan. Menendez. Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute for Life Coach Training. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 76-79. Print.

Market Problems and Behavior Design

When it comes to building a successful product there are two pillars that cannot be left out; market problems and behavior design. You must understand your markets and their problems and you must design a solution that triggers actions and behaviors that your market is ready to take. 

If you focus on trying to get a market to use your product and they are not motivated nor have the ability to use your solution, your product will fail.  Your product doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to help your market solve their problem at the very moment they need a solution.

 

Choices Become Habits

You make thousands of choices everyday. You either choose to do something or you choose not to do something. Each of those choices are prompting your behaviors, good or bad.

Somewhere along the way a single choice can become a habit if the choice continues to be made and some choices require more willpower than others.  For example, attending an early Sunday morning worship service may be a behavior that sits on the fence between being a choice and becoming a regular habit. For some the lack of willpower or enthusiasm will keep it on the choice side of the fence rather than forming a strong habit.

You can give up on a choice ever becoming a habit if it requires a lot of willpower, but you should be aware of what you are giving up. Placing yourself in a good environment on a regular basis may have more benefits than you are aware of. Using the Sunday morning example, by going regularly, you're triggering yourself not to stay up too late on Saturdays, not sleeping in on Sundays, and you're rubbing shoulders with people who in most cases want to be and do good in the world. It stretches you socially, spiritually, and perhaps intellectually. None of these things are bad, but to get the value each week you may need some willpower.

Remembering the "why" behind something that is difficult to do is key. If you can't come up with a good list of why's, then it may not be worth the effort. However, one of those why's ought to be considering what bad habits you might pick up if you weren't filling the space with a healthy, hard-to-do habit. 

If you are struggling with a good choice becoming a habit, improve your odds by making an investment in your preparation. See if you can't make some smaller habits that help you rest and eat better in order to feed your willpower.

May you find the strength to choose good behaviors that turn into healthy habits.