A brief overview of changing a behaviour

Changing behaviour may seem to be tricky, but with the right approach, it’s surprisingly easy. This guide outlines a general step-by-step process to help you identify, modify, and adopt new behaviours.

A common mistake many people make is they intellectualise the process. In contrast, the unconscious learns by patterning experience.

Behaviors are reinforced through repeated and consistent experiences, which strengthens neurological pathways and generates beliefs through psychological reinforcement.

Understanding Desired Outcomes – What you want

Many people focus on what they don’t want, but the unconscious mind doesn’t process negation. For effective behaviour change, clearly define what you want to achieve.

For example, stop thinking,I don’t want to be unhappy,and instead focus on,I want to be happy. This aims your unconscious mind in the direction you want to. And then what the experience of being happy is going to look like, feel like for you.

Think of it like ordering food at a restaurant. You wouldn’t tell the waiter what you don’t want; you provide a specific order to get what you want.

Identify the Behaviors

– Determine the specific behaviour you want to change.

– Define the new behaviour you want to adopt instead.

Test drive the new behaviour before you learn it

What would it be like doing the new behaviour? Imagine yourself experiencing the new behaviour to try it out. Would it need any adapting or modifying to make it better for your needs? What would the new behaviour be like once it’s become the new natural response?

If the new behaviour doesn’t feel as good as you want, edit it until it’s closer to how you want it to be. Remember it’s not about being perfect, this is the start of the process and you’re aim is becoming better and continually improving over time.

Breaking the Old Pattern of Behavior

To disrupt an existing behaviour, follow these steps:

1. Disassociate from the Old Behaviour:

– Recall a memory of when the problem occurred.

Visualize the memory on a screen with a border, making it look like a small, grainy TV monitor.

– Step out of the experience so you shift your perceptual position from being in the experience to the position of observing yourself in it.

– Make the screen smaller and look more distant, soften the colours, and drain the detail from the image. As you do sonotice how your feelings that were attached to it diminish.

– Change any negative internal dialogue to a silly tone or slow it down with gaps between words.

Teach the Unconscious Mind

– Use techniques like theswish patternto reprogram your unconscious mind, replacing old patterns with new behaviours.

The Swish Pattern is a powerful NLP technique you can use to teach your unconscious mind,Not that behaviour, this oneThis method is a stimulus-response training protocol that works by using a trigger cue to send the message swap from that unwanted behaviour to this desired behaviour.

Practice and Learning

– Engage in practice and embrace trial and error.

– Mistakes are part of the learning process. Notice any errors, refocus on your desired result, and continue practising.

– Observe others who demonstrate the behaviour you desire. Learn from what they do differently.

Review of the steps to change behavior

1. Identify Your Desired Outcome:

– Clearly define what you want to achieve in positive terms (e.g., instead ofI don’t want to be scaredI want to feel calm”).

2. Generate a New Behavior/Emotional Response/Resource State:

Visualize yourself performing the new behaviour. Modify it until it aligns with your vision.

– Remember, you’re changing your internal response, not the external world. For instance, if a situation used to scare you, visualize yourself feeling calm instead.

– Observe yourself from a dissociated perspective, as if watching it on TV. Once satisfied, step into the image and experience the new behaviour from a first-person perspective.

3. Scramble the Old Behavior Using Pattern Interrupts:

– Disrupt the existing, unwanted reflex response. Run the old internal movies backwards at high speed or change the tonality of the internal dialogue.

4. Pattern the New Behavior/Emotional Response:

– Practice the new behaviour in your mind. Ensure you’re also in the desired emotional state while doing this (e.g., feeling calm while visualizing speaking in public).

– Mentally rehearse the new behaviour in detail to provide clear instructions for your unconscious mind.

Creating Detailed Instructions for Your Unconscious Mind

Simply wanting to be confident isn’t enough. You need to consider how confidence feels, the mindset that comes with it, how you will behave, and how you will recognize this new state. Reflect on times when you felt confident or areas of your life where this response already exists.

1. Recall the New Behavior:

Visualize the new behaviour. Make sure your appearance in the image matches the new behaviour.

2. Enhance the New Behavior Image:

– Bring the image closer, add colour, and movement, and make it 3D. Make it vivid and realistic.

3. Step into the New Image:

– When the new image feels almost real, step into it and vividly imagine feeling good in that situation. Then, let it go.

4. Repeat and Reinforce:

Visualize yourself in future situations with the new behaviour. Repeat this step several times to reinforce the new pattern.


Behaviour change requires clear goals, detailed instructions in the format the unconscious mind uses, then repetition, consistency and practice.

Following these steps, you can effectively change unwanted behaviours and establish new, positive habits.

These steps are a guide and not ridged, sometimes the process needs adapting to fit an individual case.

Published On: June 5th, 2024 / Categories: Getting great results /