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  • Writer's pictureRyan Wilson

Setting Ourselves up for Success – Part 1 of 3

Do you like success? Most of us do, especially when it comes to following through on something we set out to do that was important.

In recent weeks, we have talked about how set realistic SMART goals, and how to Dreamline to find really meaningful goals that reflect your values. Today we will talk about practical things you can do maximize your success, whether its to loose weight or stop engaging with that unhealthy person in your life.

It basically comes down to a three step process:

  1. Choose a Replacement behaviour

  2. Rehearse & Pair it

  3. Use external cues (this one is the most fun!

This week we’ll focus on Choosing a Replacement Behaviour.


Behaviour changes quickest when we replace it with an incompatible one. This is why most people who quit smoking gain weight, because they are intuitively replacing the cigarettes with food, which is incompatible with having a cigarette at the same time.

Consciously choosing a healthy replacement behaviour that we will use when we get a craving or are tempted not to live our values or complete our SMART goal can be very helpful. Replacement behaviours that remind us of why our goal is important, tend to be the most powerful ones.

EXAMPLE #1: Let’s say I want to quit smoking because

I want to be healthy for my kids, who find it really upsetting. An incompatible behaviour may be that whenever I get a craving I think of my kids. If I find that isn’t enough because I need to do something with my hands, I might carry a picture of them to pull out and look at when I have a craving and if I find that is not enough because I need to do something with my mouth, using nicotine replacement gum might be an option. The key is to come up with an alternative response to the situation that triggers our unhealthy responses and to be creative problem solvers if our first try doesn’t quite work.

EXAMPLE #2: If my SMART goal is to stop eating unhealthy snack food at work, I may  carry around a small bag of raisins, carrots, celery etc to eat instead of cake when everyone else is eating treats.

EXAMPLE #3: If my SMART goal is to stop engaging with someone who sends mean texts

or emails, when I get an message from this person, my replacement behaviour may be to meditate for 2 min before I decide if I will respond or not (which would be incompatible with getting all riled up). An alternative might be to look at a note I carry (in my phone or on paper) reminding me why it is important for me not to engage (ie. I deserve to be treated with respect by everyone in my life).

If you are having any trouble choosing a replacement behaviour or problem solving tweaking it as necessary, feel free to send us an email or a tweet and we are happy to help!

Next week we’ll take a look at how to Rehearse your new behaviours!

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