Magic lever – changing habits

One of the magic levers impacting best health is automatically using widely accepted, well tested practices (evidence-based practice). For example hand washing. Seems like a no brainer – washing hands between patients for professionals, before caring for your loved one, after going to the bathroom for everyone. Another is limiting antibiotic use to treat viruses. Also preventing or reversing obesity. I’m fascinated how hard it is for professionals to change practice informed by widely accepted research or even common sense. Is it similar to maintaining good life habits? I suspect that inertia plays a major role. It’s hard to change gears in a busy productive life. Heck, its hard to change gears in an unproductive life. How do we get the stars in alignment to do the right thing when we definitely know what the right thing is? How do you effect change in your professional and personal life? What are key factors that others can replicate? We spend so much money and human capital on trying to change behavior – consultants, training, how-to-manuals. What works? Being able to change habits is a superpower.


  • Joyce says:

    Danny, You might help me to become stronger in my own practice. I see women every day who have various problems (you know WHERE I mean), and there is really nothing wrong, but they want medicine. So, I have been really trying to help them to see that there might not need to be anything done, just some simple lifestyle changes that can help. I realize that these are not nearly as life changing as what you have been going through, but, if I can help women to better understand their bodies, and take responsibility for their bodies, I will be happy. Incidentaly, I am coming to Missy’s this w/e.

    • Danny says:

      Joyce, best health certainly implies knowledge about what ails us and alignment in goal setting and decision-making between patient and prescriber. I know I could be better at setting goals for myself and could have been better collaborating to set goals with my patients. Is this a matter of insufficient skill, insufficient time to establish a relationship? I know that health team members speak different languages, have different assumptions. Such diversity! What do you think?

  • m.e. cortizas says:

    I think endlessly about why I do and don’t do the things I know I’m supposed to do. My current philosophy is that we spend to much time think about what others are doing or failing to get recognition for others when we do the right thing. When we fail to see others doing the right thing or fail to get recognition for what we do, we give up.

    My own intermittent superpower is objective accountability to myself to do the right thing.

    • Danny says:

      “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” – Mark Twain

      “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits” – Mark Twain

      I’ve tried to change a few habits. Several things come to mind for success: commit to changing one habit at a time, keep a spreadsheet or log of progress, line up support, failure -relapses – happen, takes a long time to change a habit.

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