Earlier this week, a friend of mine asked me what, as a psychologist, I thought we could do to ensure that the commitment to action stirred up by the presidential election results doesn’t fall by the wayside. I answered her quickly but the question lingered on my mind. I think there are a few general strategies anyone, regardless of the issues close to their heart, can use to maintain accountability and action over time and effect change for midterm elections in 2018 and the next presidential race in 2020.
One behavior change tactic to put in your toolbox is the imaginary friend. There’s a deep pool of research showing that self-efficacy, or the belief in your own power to achieve something, is connected to better behavior change outcomes. If we think we can do something, we’re more likely to try it, more likely to persist when we run into setbacks, and more likely to tackle the behavior from multiple angles. We also know behavior change is hard and people are likely to slip up many times before achieving the desired outcome. That’s where the imaginary friend comes in. Continue reading Your Imaginary Friend, Health Coach Extraordinaire