(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who” —Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Really interesting project conducted by Broadway to relieve homelessness in the Square Mile. Homeless people were asked what they *needed* to get off the streets and change their lives rather than simply encouraging them to move into hostels. One homeless person asked for a caravan on a travelllers site, another for a pair of trainers and a TV. Of the 13 included in the pilot 11 are now off the streets. By offering people control over their lives and increasing the perceived self efficacy they were able to change their behaviour. I would be really interested to see the longterm effect of this project and what additional support is being provided to enable those involved in the project to stay off the streets.
Although it can be an expensive habit, experts say some people rely on smoking during hard times.
In 2007 - before the recession - about 32% of smokers said they had tried to quit within the past three months.
This had fallen to 23% by 2008 and 22% by 2009. Latest figures up to 2010 show only 17% have attempted to quit, says Cancer Research UK.
“Obviously we can only guess at a link, but we know that when people are under stress and have bad things going on in their lives they shorten their horizons and focus on getting through, day to day.
“They don’t have the mental energy to focus on doing things that are hard, like quitting smoking.”
Professor Robert West, director of tobacco studies at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre
“When people are feeling hopeless it is harder to make positive changes
Martin Dockrell of Action on Smoking and Health
My table felt like the default voluntary donation was a bit cheeky but you can be sure that no one was mean enough to ask for it to be taken off the bill! And it was effective too, as I’m sure no one would have thought to leave an extra £1 with the tip if this note had requested that as an alternative.
On average 66 days, but up to 254 days* for a new behaviour to become automatic enough to be considered a habit. This is much longer than previous research had suggested and unsurprisingly was longest for the formation of more complex habits.
Phillipa Lally and her team asked undergrads to adopt a new health-related behaviour, to be repeated once a day for the next 84 days. The new behaviour had to be linked to a daily cue - for example going for a 15 minute run before dinner, eating a piece of fruit with lunch, doing 50 sit-ups after morning coffee. Participants logged onto a website each day to report whether they’d performed the behaviour and to fill out a self-report measure of the behaviour’s automaticity e.g. I do it automatically’, ‘I do it without thinking’ and ‘I’d find it hard not to do’.
What about the effect of having a day off from the behaviour? The study found that a single missed day had little impact on later automaticity gains, either early in the study or later on. However, there was some evidence that too many missed repeats of the behaviour, even if spread out over time, had a cumulative effect, reducing the maximum automaticity level that was ultimately reached.
It seems the message of this research for those seeking to establish a new habit is to repeat the behaviour every day if you can, but don’t worry excessively if you miss a day or two. Also be prepared for the long haul - remember the average time to reach peak automaticity was 66 days.
In terms of comms supporting behaviour change, this suggests that campaigns aiming to form new habits will need to consider the benefit of long term campaigns which continually remind and nudge people during this crucial habit formation period - and also the importance of helping people not to miss too many days when forming their habit.
See full article over on the BPS website
(* 254 based on prediction of the increasing levels of automaticity levels recorded in the research, study lasted 84 days )
update: 04.09.2012 - more info in this blog post here http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/hbrc/2012/06/29/busting-the-21-days-habit-formation-myth/