Resolution time. It's the occasion to institute changes. Or at least resolve to change. It doesn't always work out, does it? The diet gets dropped. The fingernails get bitten. The cigarettes get smoked. The exercise gets blown off. And that's that. Right?
Maybe not. If you've ever had trouble shaking an addiction or behavior that ends up not serving your needs, you might find some hope (and results) in this analysis of addictive behavior, courtesy of Hyrum Smith, founder and creator of the Franklin planning system.
This post isn't about planning or time management. It's about the five-step cycle that drives our behavior.
I know I know, you probably believe this is just a bunch of hokum. (We'll get to beliefs and how they affect behavior in a minute.) But I'm not prescribing anything here. This is just a look at how behavior happens. I think it's empowering.
(These notes are drawn from a Franklin videotape called "Gaining Control." As far as I can tell, it's long out of print. And since then, the Franklin Institute became Franklin-Covey, and Hyrum Smith has gone on to other things. If you find this interesting, there are some links at the bottom of this post to some tape and book resources where you can learn much more on this.)
"The Reality Model"
According to this analysis, there are five steps to human behavior. Here's the breakdown.
1. Human Needs
We each have four basic human needs.
- To live.
- To love and be loved.
- To feel important.
If we are lacking any one or more of these needs, we may end up trying to fill them in.
File this away. We'll get back to it.
2. Belief Window
We all have beliefs, principles, convictions that determine how we interpret the world.
In the tape, Hyrum uses an example, "Men are better than women." Another might be, "My self-worth is dependent upon never losing an argument."
These are "If...then..." statements, using the principles in the Belief Window has the premise.
Following on Hyrum's example: "If I get in an argument, then I must win."
4. Behavior Patterns:
These are the actions that result from the Rules. Thus, in the example case, "I" can never back down in an argument.
Here's the question: Will the results meet my needs over time?
If "I" never back down in an argument, never compromise, never acknowledge someone else's point, then is that making my life better?
Hyrum Smith then makes these interesting points:
1 - If the results of your behavior do not meet your needs, then you have an incorrect principle on your belief window.
Your actions are the results of your principles on your Belief Window.
2 - Results take time to measure.
Sometimes it takes years. Look at smoking. Or heavy drinking.
3 - Growth is the process of changing principles on your belief window.
You can't change the behavior if the principles causing that behavior are not addressed. If you believe, "I can't stick with exercise programs," then you can try starting a workout regimen but you probably won't have much success sticking with it. If you believe, "Older women cannot be attractive," and you feel old, then dressing up will feel like an exercise in despair.
4 - Addictive behavior is the result of deep and unmet needs.