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WHY Changing a behavior is so damn hard to do!


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We talk a lot about changing behaviors, but do we understand why it's so hard to start a new behavior?? Let's look at why it's never easy and how we can use the power of marketing and communication to motivate action!

Published in: Environment
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WHY Changing a behavior is so damn hard to do!

  1. 1. WHY STARTING A NEW BEHAVIOR IS SO DAMN HARD!! brought to you by
  2. 2. Habitat degradation & loss Pollution Destruction of natural resources Over- harvesting of resources An abundance of waste Excessive use of resources Our planet today is facing a variety of threats, such as: And the list goes on and on…
  3. 3. Eat less meat Reduce food waste Choose more carbon friendly transportation Not use plastic straws Use reusable water bottles In order to combat these threats, we need people to do things like: This list also goes on and on…
  4. 4. Behavior Change Doing any of those things in the list requires people to do something new and/or do something differently than they’ve done it before. This means, it’s all about behavior change.
  5. 5. And the #1 thing I’ve learned in my years working on this topic and as a human myself is that…
  6. 6. Behavior Change is NOT easy
  7. 7. Even when it seems like it should be.
  8. 8. BEHAVIOR CHANGE GOAL: BRING RE-USABLE SHOPPING BAGS EVERY TIME YOU GO GROCERY SHOPPING Let’s look at one behavior change example to explore why it’s difficult to do a new behavior. I’m going to use a behavior that I’ve been working on doing myself and that could be considered an “easy” behavior change to make:
  9. 9. They don’t know that plastic bags are bad for the environment They don’t have access to reusable bags They don’t care enough People are lazy People have a hard time remembering to bring their reusable bags We often make a lot of assumptions about why people are currently not doing this behavior and why they continue to use plastic bags. Some of these may be right, but often it’s not as simple as a knowledge, access, attitude or laziness issue.
  10. 10. forget reusable bags during 40% of grocery trips 60% reported using plastic bags during last grocery trip 61% prefer reusable bags Edelman Berland Reusable Bag Survey, 2014 In fact, research shows that most people want to and prefer to use reusable bags But there are other challenges, like forgetting to bring them and underestimating how many bags they need to bring.
  11. 11. “Easy” behavior to adopt Relatively low-cost/free Enviro benefits are known Preference for reusable exists In many ways this behavior is still relatively easy to do. It’s not asking for an entirely new behavior than what people do normally, like carrying groceries in a bag. If awareness and preferences are there, and people have access to the bags – then what’s the hold up?!?!
  12. 12. Difficult to remember Unclear personal benefit Conflicting reports creates skepticism Can get messy = inconvenient # needed hard to know The truth is – this is a behavior that ends up being more complex than it seems, especially since we haven’t given the audience the right reasons to do a different behavior.
  13. 13. As conservationists, these may seem like small and insufficient reasons to not do a behavior. They may even sound like excuses. But they represent real obstacles to achieving behavior change that we must recognize and overcome.
  14. 14. Knowing that it’s so damn hard to make a change, there are some things we can do as communicators to make the change easier and more compelling…
  15. 15. WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A CHANGE People must know what you want them to do Unless you tell people specifically what to do, then they’re likely not going to do anything. People need to know the benefits We’re a selfish species and we need to know “what’s in it for me?” before we take a risk. #1 #2
  16. 16. WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A CHANGE We are motivated by what others around us are doing and how we feel doing the behavior. But information does not equal behavior change. Confidence and Ease is critical Developing a new habit is hard. If we encounter resistance or failure to our initial effort, then we may not try again. #3 #4
  17. 17. With this knowledge under your belt, I expect to see less of this moving forward
  18. 18. and more of this.
  19. 19. I run training workshops ranging from 3 hours to 3 days on topics like this and more. Learn more at .com and reach out to book your workshop today!