Positive behavioural change occurs when a negative act is replaced by a functional one. This replacement behaviour brings benefits to the individual, as well as those around them. Often associated with positive reinforcement, individuals are able to see the benefits of changing their behaviour and are, therefore, more receptive to the idea.
Although positive behavioural change can have many benefits, it’s crucial that the individual is able to identify these benefits. Whether it’s through learned experience or theoretical knowledge, if the individual can associate specific benefits with alternative conduct, positive behavioural change is more likely to occur.
Why is positive behavioural change complex?
On the face of it, positive behavioural change seems easy to implement. Most people want to act in a way that benefits them and the people around them, and so they act in socially acceptable ways. Similarly, they want to succeed in their chosen area and work hard in order to achieve success.
In some cases, however, individuals may exhibit negative behaviours which clearly have an impact on their own selves, as well as others. Whilst changing their behaviour would clearly benefit them, this may only be apparent to an outside observer.
To the individual in question, their negative behaviour may provide a secondary gain. A person with low self-esteem may subconsciously self-sabotage because they don’t think they are worthy of success, for example.
Similarly, an individual who fears rejection may act out and isolate themselves in order to prevent rejection from occurring.
By working with the individual to identify these negative behaviours and the perceived benefits they bring, alternatives can be found and positive behavioural change can occur.
Using positive behavioural change to improve your life
Many of our thought processes and behaviour patterns are habitual. We respond to situations in particular ways without really thinking about why we react in that way. When something goes wrong, we might automatically think, “I didn’t deserve it anyway” for example.
Positive behavioural change can be most effective when it’s used to address environmental, psychological and physiological factors which are affecting our thoughts and behaviours. Whilst it can certainly address specific problem behaviours, it can also be used to enhance or improve every part of your life.
In fact, many people find that they begin using the process of positive behavioural change in other areas, once they’ve successfully reduced a specific negative behaviour. Once you become accustomed to identifying your motivating factors, it’s easy to examine your own behaviour and the consequences it brings.
Whilst negative behaviour may bring about a negative consequence, positive behavioural change will enable you to see the positive secondary gain you’re getting from the situation. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find it much easier to adapt your behaviour and accept the positive rewards which stem from it.
As well as applying positive behavioural change to your own life, you can use it to encourage behaviour modification in others. If you are raising children or work in an educational facility, for example, positive behavioural change can be taught to young people so that they’re able to adapt their own behaviour with minimal intervention.
Applicable to both specific behaviours and repeated patterns of negative conduct, positive behaviour change can result in people being more successful, more well-balanced and infinitely happier.