How small wins can change behaviour

How small wins can change behaviour

‘Around 55,000 Australians go to hospital with a heart attack every year and around one third of those are repeat heart attacks.’
Associate Professor Clara Chow,
The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney

In an effort to reduce these alarming figures particularly the repeat rate the researchers tried something new.

They sent a series of simple text messages to the patients (4 per week) for 6 months in an attempt to improve their health.

Patient received texts such as:

“Don’t forget physical activity is good for you! It reduces your risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke.”
“Did you know that 90 per cent of people don’t eat the recommended daily intake of vegetables?”
“Studies show that stress, worry and loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease. Please talk to a health professional if you need help.”

After receiving four texts a week for six months, patients significantly lowered their cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index.

In other-words there was a change in behaviour and better health outcomes after this program.

The study can be found here.

This is a significant study because it suggests that small changes or what I call small wins, consistently applied can lead to big changes.

Now imagine if this was applied to organisational development, training or leadership programs for example.

You might run a face to face workshop then follow it up with a series of emails reminding people of the content and suggesting quick, easy behavioural changes.

This is a quick, simple and practical way of enhancing the ROI of every training and development initiative.

And to bring about a change in behaviour – one small win at a time.

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