Applying Behavioural Insights to change my own life II

Almost 2 months of eating vegetarian food: proud of my achievement, especially because it is more about behaviour change rather than any other reason involved.

I promised to update some of the techniques I use, and I mostly wanted to speak about a simple framework: EAST, designed by a smart team. It should be Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely.

Easy
harness the power of defaults: vegetables are always there, I don’t need to decide what to eat each time.
reduce the ‘hassle factor’: I always buy meatless products, it’s somehow more simple to eat meatless when there’s no meat around to make me crave.

Attractive
attract attention: whenever my partner buys meat, I tend to do a bit of choice architecture in the fridge – the colourful, fresh vegetables are always in the front rows, and my food looks amazing all the time. It’s easy to pick it up and pleasant to eat.
– design rewards and sanctions for maximum effect: my rewards are purely motivational, as my self-esteem increases every time I choose to go meatless. Sometimes is harder than others, but this creates a positive attitude and high confidence that I can do what I want.

Social
public commitments work! I told everyone around me I am a vegetarian, so I can’t even touch bacon without being harshly judged. I have to keep my promise to them, if not to myself!

Timely
– it’s easier to change behaviours if the habit is already disrupted, so I decided to go vegetarian immediately after I returned from a trip to Barcelona, when my eating habits were disturbed anyway.

The EAST framework is not only easy to use, but specially designed to change people’s behaviours by policy-makers. You can find more about it here.

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Behaviour change: the COM-B model

Earlier this week, at the Designing and Characterising Behaviour Change Interventions event, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change launched a useful tool for those interested in behaviour change interventions: The Behavioural Change Wheel. Based on the COM-B model (capacity, opportunity, motivation and behaviour), the Wheel offers valuable insights into designing and implementing strategies for behaviour change, by synthesising 19 behaviour change frameworks and policies to a theoretical analysis of the target behaviour in context.

1748-5908-6-42-2-l
(source here)

The COM-B model is a new method of specifying intervention content in terms of their Behaviour Change Techniques (BCTs), and has been pioneered at UCL. More here.