How can you change your thoughts and behaviour?

Do you think you can change the behavior you have had for a long time? Can you change your thinking patterns? Most of us think it is difficult to change, and it is true that it is difficult to change, but it is not impossible to change.

Behavior modification can be effectively used to change one’s behavior. The use of operant conditioning, biofeedback, modeling, aversion conditioning, and other learning techniques can be used as a means to change human behavior; however, it requires grit and strengths. When you think of changing behavior, it requires you to understand what is triggering and causing these behaviors, which can lead to positive and negative consequences. For example, if you are having difficulty focusing on your work and always fall behind the deadline, you need to identify the source of the problem, analyze the problem (no planning in managing the time), your behavior (disorganization and procrastination), and the consequences (falling behind the deadline).

Here is an approach that can help you change the behaviors that result in negative consequences. The ABC model:

    1. A: Antecedents
    2. B: Behavior or Beliefs
    3. C: Consequences



The antecedent occurs before the behavior and the event. For example, exposure to certain activities, people, or certain times of the day, conversation, or place. Introspecting on such information can help you understand what is triggering the behavior, which is the first step to making a change in your behavior.

Behaviour or Belief

Behavior is known as one’s actions and habits. In this model, in the process of changing the behavior, it is essential to understand the potential of the behavior.

The belief in the ABC model is to analyze the thoughts that occur when an event is happening. The beliefs are associated with an individual’s mind, which could be right or wrong, rational or irrational. At this stage, it is important to analyze and evaluate whether your beliefs and thinking are right or wrong. For example, what was I thinking when I met those people? Or did my thoughts support my thoughts and behavior?


Consequences are the outcome of the antecedent, behavior, and belief. Consequences evaluate our behavior, beliefs, and emotions from the event. Some of the self-reflection questions that can be asked are:

What kind of negative behavior can I identify as a result of the event or my belief?

How is my behavior affecting others in this situation?

How do I feel about this?

Making changes in the antecedents and consequences can help the individual modify his or her behavior. For example, if a child is struggling to participate in a class, the teacher and parents can modify the environment and slightly alter the consequences. If a teacher thinks that a child is communicating to participate by raising a hand or calling out yes, maam, to respond, the teacher can encourage the child by praising or addressing his concerns or response. By doing this, the child will become more confident enough to reach out to the teacher and participate in the class.

To change a behavior, one must be determined and take the necessary steps, irrespective of how one feels throughout the process. Many start well, but as the days go by, they tend to give up and are easily discouraged. This is when it is necessary to break down your goal to make it more achievable, change the antecedents to make it more approachable for you to make a change, evaluate your progress, and reward yourself for every small effort you take.




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