Have you ever wondered what makes a person change their behavior? Or why some people make lasting changes and others do not?
I was at the gym yesterday and another gym goer whom I speak to regularly was asking me my opinion on why some people stay committed to going to the gym or their goals in general and why others never make any positive changes in their life.
It got me to thinking, I already know that the way we grow up, the messages we receive from our family, society and others around us, shape who we become and what we thing about the world and how it works. Some of us seem to be more inclined to want more for our lives or to make changes to have a better life than we have had but I wanted to know more!
I have talked about mirror neurons with my followers before and will briefly again as I introduce the SCT theory. Mirror neurons are what cause babies and children to learn how to do things like walk, use their hands and talk. They are responsible for mirroring what we see and this doesn’t stop in childhood. We have the ability to always grow and learn new things, neurons are such a cool and fascinating things. They are also responsible for new pathways to be cemented on our brains whether positive or negative.
The Social Cognitive Theory – SCT explains how we acquire some of our behaviors, how we maintain them and what we can do to make lasting behavioral changes. It looks at environmental factors such as our physical environment, which could include access to certain foods, size of a room, access to physical tools that help us maintain health. It also looks at our social environment such as our friends and family and the impact their opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles have on us.
1. People learn from observing others. This means that a person can change and learn new behaviors by simply observing a role model. A model is a person that demonstrates a behavior.
2. Learning is an internal process. This means that although a person may observe a new behavior, they do not immediately repeat the behavior. It is first processed internally, and then observed behavior can lead the person to a new behavior or they can choose not to engage in the new behavior. The change in behavior does not occur simply from watching others’ behavior, it comes from the cognitive process that happens after the observation.
3. What determines whether a person implements what they’ve observed and processed is whether the behavior is positively reinforced. The first 3 assumptions fit together like this. First, a person observes a behavior, then they process what they’ve learned, and finally they observe if this behavior is reinforced socially. As you can see, there is both a social and a cognitive aspect to whether the person will implement the change.
4. We also choose behaviors based on our goals that we set for ourselves. That is why its important to be intentional with our goals and to understand our true motivations and driving forces.
5. We learn our behaviors from our exposure to feedback from our environment. Once we implement the new behavior, our actions will be reinforced, or punished, by others. Our behavior one way or another will have a consequence. Both the actual reaction from others and the expected consequences of the action play a big factor in our behavior, and specifically whether we continue a new learned behavior. Because of this social feedback, our behavior can change depending who we are with or what environment we are in.
6. Our behaviors that we learn from others eventually become self-regulated. Once we have been reinforced enough from our environment, we will continue to reinforce our behavior to ourselves, without the need for continuous external feedback affirming the behavior. At this point, we will have learned the behavior and it has become unconscious or automatic.
When I began learning about these concepts and others regarding the brain and what makes change happen, I had so many AHA moments and felt so empowered in my abilities to help my clients make lasting changes in their lives.
You can change your brain, your mindset, your thoughts & your life! We all can, at any age and any stage.
With Wild Love,
Originally Posted on wildlovenation.com