4D Method to Change any Behaviour

Posted by Parthiban Vijayaraghavan
January 1, 2018

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

From quitting smoking to eating healthier to exercising regularly to getting more organized, most of us have a list of behaviours we’d like to begin (or end) that resist our attempts to do so.

Changing of behaviours is complex, according to the transtheoretical model, there are 5 stages to change behaviours which are, contemplation, preparation for action, action, and maintenance. People usually oscillate back and forth between the various steps for many months or years before achieving long-lasting change in their behaviour. However, one of the best-known methods and a simpler one to achieve behaviour changes is to keep it simple and consistent and that is 4D Method

The 4D Method for behaviour changes is 1. Define 2. Decide 3. Design 4. Deliver


Firstly identify what behaviour you would like to change, list out all possible behaviours you would like to change and do not filter at this point. During this stage, perform self-reflection and list out all possible behavioural changes you would like to make. “Waking up Early”, “Exercising at least thrice a week”, “Responding to all emails before you leave”, “Sticking to Daily / Weekly Plan”, “Planning each day”, “Impulsive behaviour” anything which you believe you need to change for better outcome/results.


Once you have a Laundry list, its time to prioritize. You rank them on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) how important is that behaviour to change in order to achieve your short term / long term Goal or that behaviour is being an obstruction to your desired outcome. Pick the Top 2, if you have a tie, try harder and prioritize.


Now take the Top 2, and further breakdown into specific action item which can be measured. For example: “Stop Unhealthy Snacking” if you find it hard to measure or put a specific action on your desired behaviour, try to reframe in the above example, “Eat Low-calorie healthy snack”. Another example “Stop Procrastination” then reframing would be “Completing all the task listed at the beginning of the day before 6 PM”. Be As specific as possible so that is is easy to measure by end of the day and put a scoring.


Once you have decided the top two and the specifics, now put to action, and one of the ways is to measure daily and Here is a simple daily Q, which you need to look at it twice in a day one in the morning and once in the evening to score your habit. Practice this for at least 21 Days and ideally for about 90 days. Be honest in scoring, do not be lenient, its Ok if for first several days, you do not score well and maybe even get de-motivated. The most important part is discipline to measure and record. As the days pass by, slowly you are transferring information and offering suggestions to your sub-conscious mind. It takes time to register at the sub-conscious level. Once you have it registered at the sub-conscious level, you will make an effective and long-lasting change.

Behavioural change is definitely an arduous path, however, to make the path smoother and achievable, you have to make slight changes in your schedule and all you need to do is be consistent in measuring your performance each day no matter how demotivating it is in the earlier days. Once you get into the discipline of measuring, your subconscious mind will make automatic changes and then you will see the results. Remember patience and consistency is key to successful change in behaviour.

Below is the Excel file for you to Log your score and do a self-reflection each quarter on how you make a progress.

For Template Click here

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