Making change stick for longer

CATEGORY: 13.08.18
By Beata Justkowiak


Going through smaller or bigger changes every day, I know how crucial it is to make the change stick for longer. In the same time we want to be able to not only plan and implement the change but more importantly, maintain it for longer than 2 weeks or months.

Searching for easy and practical tools I found Dr. Samantha Boardman’s article presenting all important facts in a nice form. Couldn’t say no to passing it forward and showing it to you, so here it is..


How can we make behavioural changes that stick?

Psychologists Barbara Frederickson and Michael Cohn explored this question by following a group who had participated in a short-term study on the benefits of meditation. In the initial seven week study, regularly meditating was shown to increase feelings of love, hope, gratitude and sense of purpose. It seemed to help pretty much everyone. But what would happen after the study formally ended and the participants were “released” back into everyday life?


Cohn and Frederickson followed up over a year later. A number of participants continued to meditate and reported feeling better as a result, but others had stopped. What made the difference? According to their findings, those who enjoyed meditating early on in the study were more likely to be meditating one year later. So even if the person reported benefiting from the practice, if they didn’t take to meditating from the get go, they were less likely to continue in the long run.


The findings suggest that the trick to long term behaviour change is that you must connect with it. It has to feel good from the very beginning.


This study goes hand in hand with what we know about learning new things. For anything to stick, there must be interest in the first place.


Whatever change you want to make or skill you hope to master, begin with something that feels right. Enthusiasm is the gatekeeper of endurance.





Dr. Samantha Boardman’s article

– Barbara Frederickson and Michael Cohn’s study

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