Health behaviors: Tips to promote and inspire change
We're exploring health behavior change. Find inspiration for your healthcare content, plus a free poster.
As healthcare communicators, it's our job to inspire change—to help people improve their health and well-being through better habits and smart practices. The words we write, the campaigns we build and the lessons we share have the power to help people truly transform their lives.
That's why we're so interested in health behavior change. The more we understand what motivates people to make changes, the better content we can create.
Today, we're sharing a poster we've created on this intriguing and important topic. We thought we'd take a page from the behavior-change playbook and show you information in a fun and educational way.
Design and artwork by Julie Christian, Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer
7 tips to inspire and promote behavior change
How can we use these insights to shift behavior? There's no easy answer to that question. As many of us know from personal experience, changing health behaviors isn't simple. And countless researchers devote their careers to studying it.
We'll keep studying up too. But in the meantime, here are seven tips to help inspire and promote change when creating compelling healthcare content:
1. Remember that people are motivated by different things. Think about your target audience—the behavior you're trying to change—and what factors may resonate most. And consider creating a variety of angles and approaches to reach more people.
2. Help people better understand what positive rewards they have to gain. Share trustworthy facts—and correct any misinformation.
3. Give people practical and actionable steps they can take. And encourage them to find what works for them.
4. Help people identify their personal motivations. Health experts use this strategy frequently with smoking cessation. The actionable step: Write down all the reasons you want to quit, and keep your list where you can refer to it frequently.
5. Realize that your audience may be at different levels of readiness. Some may benefit from a super-easy first step, while others may want more specific, detailed information.
Pro tip: Avoid calling particularly tough behavior changes "easy" or "simple." Certain strategies may be relatively easy to adopt in the short term, but lasting behavior change often takes persistence through challenges and setbacks.
6. Keep it positive, realistic and fun. Offer encouragement, empathy, reassurance, assistance and incentives.
7. Promote confidence and self-efficacy. Help people believe they can do it. That also means avoiding health-shaming—for example, reminding people of their sorry state or how they've failed in the past.
Would you like your own behavior change poster?
We'd be happy to send you one! Use it in your workplace to help inspire new ways of thinking about consumer behavior change. Email us your name and mailing address and we'll send it right out.