Enlisting a good friend to partner up and work toward a common goal has proven to be a very effective method at influencing an outcome. Behaviors can be shaped by a desire to please those we care about. No one ever wants to let a BFF down.
So if you are trying to change a behavior, enlist the help of a best buddy who also wants to change. And then figure out how you will be both supportive and accountable to one another. I knew friends who exchanged text pictures of themselves exercising in their respective gyms every morning by 8 am. A very successful strategy!
For my friend Stacya and me, the behavior we most wanted to change was our addiction to sugar (yes, scientists will tell you that the addictive properties of sugar are far greater than those of cocaine). We wanted liberation and freedom from having “ice cream on the brain” every day of summer, and craving chocolate delights in the winter. We wanted to finish a meal and be satisfied without scrounging for a treat. We wanted out!
The plan we devised involved a third person and a proposed year-end surprise we needed to save money for, which in turn, created extra incentive and a very tangible positive reward for more than just us. So each Friday, beginning in February of 2015, we met in person and Stacya and I each put a few dollars in an envelope if we had gone the whole week without sugar. There was no discussion with one another during the week about our resolve. It was the not knowing how your pact-mate was doing that was key to our success, and our long-term goal. Who wanted to be the one arriving empty handed because of a sugar mishap ??? Periodically we would count our loot and reflect on how much we had saved. If one person slipped up, then no money could go in, because we were equal partners. So the five times I faltered cost us double dollars, both hers and mine, and our envelope did not expand.
OUR RESULTS: The surprise for our unsuspecting friend was the best, and Stayca has been off sugar for over a year.
I have been clean for over 8 months. The envelope has been retired and I believe, so has our addiction! Find that friend and change a behavior, today!