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Health Behavior Modification Essay

967 words - 4 pages

The behavior change I pursued included running 3 miles a day for three days of the week. In this analysis I explore how my perceptions fit within the Theory of Planned Behavior, overview specific methods of change, evaluate pitfalls, social support, and identify potential areas of improvement.
I chose the health behavior of running 3 miles three times per week because I wanted to decrease my risk for developing cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol—both of which run in my family, lose weight to reduce my risk of obesity later in life, and lower my blood pressure.
Accomplishing my task appeared straightforward when applying my attitudes, perceived control, and subjective norms to the Theory of Planned Behavior; initially I had all necessary aspects to initiate a lifestyle change. Before starting my regiment I had the belief that regular running leads to decreased weight and improves overall health. Health and appropriate body size are both characteristics I evaluate as desirable. Subjective cultural norms highlighting the value of appropriate weight, active lifestyle, and overall health influenced my motivation to comply to these standards. In this way beliefs as well as evaluations of the beliefs influenced my motivation to start running. Additionally my perception of behavioral control and sense of self-efficacy are generally high. Since I accomplished similar goals in the past I felt it could be done again. My attitudes, subjective norms, and my perceived control indicate I had the behavioral intention to make the change to run more frequently.
To increase the efficacy of my behavioral plan I came up with three specific goals to help me keep up with my intentions. First, I designated specific times on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday when I planned to run. Keeping a schedule helped me self-monitor the behavior and determine how effective I was at pursuing my goals. Second, I talked regularly with friends who were also trying to become more active. This was beneficial because friends shared success methods, held me accountable for working out when I planned to, and provided encouragement. Third, I allowed myself rewards for completing daily runs. After each successful workout I allowed myself to watch one extra Walking Dead episode.
Pitfalls I anticipated included not having enough time to go to the gym and losing motivation. As a college student my schedule gets busy sometimes for various reasons. The most effective thing I did to prepare for being busy was to set aside specific times and days for running. I missed a few days, but this method worked reasonably well if I remembered to look at my schedule frequently. Losing motivation was harder to combat especially when the weather got cold. When I lost motivation I tried to remind myself what my priorities were and why running was important to me. I practiced aspects...

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