What barriers are holding you back? Part 2

Simon Long

Simon Long

Simon is a highly experienced personal trainer and behavioural psychology expert
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Hey everyone!


Simon from Body Development Centre here, you’re friendly, premium, Leicester based personal trainer!


So in the last blog, we spoke about the barriers that are stopping you from putting your lifestyle change into place. You can find the article here, but in summary, a well-established way to work out what’s holding you back is the Theoretical Domains Framework, more commonly known as TDF.


The TDF contains the 14 categories of barrier that stop you from implementing a new behaviour, and it’s a great way to work out what’s stopping you! The last article touched on the first seven barriers, which in brief were:




Memory, attention and decisional processes

Behavioural regulation

Social/ professional role and identity

Beliefs about capabilities



You can check out that article if you’d like to learn more about each category and how to overcome them. But today, we’re going to take a gander at the final seven!


Beliefs About Consequences 


What do you think will happen if you do x?


This barrier stops you when you don’t really believe that the behaviour is going to get you where you want to be. For example, if you want to get stronger, and the behaviour you’ve been prescribed is walking the dog every morning, you may be pretty sure that behaviour isn’t going to help. 

Feel the burn!!


But as the behaviour was only being put in place to make you stronger, your motivation to do it drops, and it becomes far less likely to happen.


To overcome these barriers often requires education. Look for reputable sources online or in print, or speak to an expert. Find out for sure if the behaviour you have will move you towards your goal. And if it won’t, plan to do something else instead!




Have you made the decision to do x?


Intention is the underlying factor of any behaviour! Without it, you have no foundation, and you’ll never get anything done. 

Cute, but isn’t going to get you fit.

Intention is built by a few things, but the main ones are feeling that you have personally chosen the behaviour, and having confidence in your ability to do it. So focus there if you don’t think you have a strong intention!


It is worth noting here, that intention is the foundation, but not the deciding factor. In fact many behaviours that have intention are never turned into actual behaviour. This is called the intention to behaviour gap. Overcoming it needs action planning, which you can find out about here (scroll to the Staying on Track section). 




I am trying to achieve x


Goals are the driving force of new behaviours. If you don’t have something you want to achieve or something you want to do differently, then there would be no need to change your behaviour!

Ahh! If only!!


Setting goals is a whole topic in itself! It isn’t as easy as just briefly thinking about what you want to do. Goals need several factors, but in brief, you need to make them clear and measurable. I’ll do an article on it in the near future, which you won’t miss if you follow my Facebook


“I will train more” is a bad goal.


“I will train at the gym three times a week” is better. 


“I will train at the gym three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday” is best.




Do you have incentives to do x?


Lack of reinforcements makes behaviours less likely to occur. So think about what you can do to make your new behaviours more likely to happen. Options include rewards and incentives, punishment (although for exercise and nutritional changes I don’t advise these) and having a partner. 




Does doing x create an emotional response?


When it comes to exercise behaviour change, there is a mild link to emotion. Common feelings you may experience include being nervous of making a fool of yourself at the gym or becoming stressed when you feel an increased heart rate or your muscles burning.


But when it comes to new behaviours around your diet, oh boy they can invoke strong reactions. “Hangry” is a great word for it, as frustration is very common when you change what you eat or reduce calorie intake.

Your inner you when changing diet…

This is again a whole topic in itself (Seriously! There’s so much good stuff coming to the Facebook Page!). But in short try to recognise why your emotions are becoming short, and focus on control! It may also help to realise that the strong emotional reactions around diet change only last 7 to 10 days. So ride it out!!


Environmental Context


Does the environment encourage you not to do x?


You know, as I write this article I realise that I’m going to need to do a full break down on so many of these categories (Facebook!). But in the meantime, the environmental context is one of the strongest influences on what you do (the other strong influencer comes next!). 


Think about your home as an example. If you are trying to improve your diet, but the biscuit tin is on the kitchen table, and you have large family-sized bags of crisps lying around, these act as cues that go against your new behaviours.

Eat me!!!!


You may think you can just overcome and ignore these cues, but chances are you won’t. There’s even less likelihood in the long run. So adjust your environment! Switch it up so it encourages your new behaviours, and discourages old ones, rather than vice versa. You will be blown away at the level of difference it makes!


Social Influences


Do others encourage or help you to not do x?


And so we’ll finish off with the second most powerful factor that hinders your behaviour change. Other people!


No matter how good you think you are at burning your own trail, other people will definitely influence you. No-one is immune to it!


A common one that relates to weight loss is eating out with friends. You can be ON POINT with your nutrition at home, but chances are when you go to a restaurant with friends you’ll become more likely to indulge a bit more, whether that’s with a starter, extra drinks or a larger meal.

I mean…you’re with friends right!

Dessert is a great example, as everyone is nearly always full by the time the main meal is done. And yet, once a couple of others begin to order dessert, you become far more likely to as well. No one is never influenced by others!


Overcoming social influence can involve a lot of different approaches, but the best approach if possible is honesty. If you’re upfront at the beginning that you want to follow a certain behaviour, you create a “pre-commitment”, which makes you far more likely to stick to your guns.



So there we go, between the last article and this one, you now know all the barriers that may stop you from getting your new behaviour started! So take a look at each new behaviour you’re approaching, and work out which barriers are holding you back. Then put a strategy in place to overcome them, and hey presto! You’ve become far more likely to start, which is the first step to making your new behaviour a habit!


If you’d like me to work with you to overcome any barriers you’re experiencing, then I’m available for face to face personal training in Leicester as well as worldwide with my online personal training


And if this article has been useful then please do consider giving it a share, as it makes a HUGE difference for my exposure!! =]


And for those of you with more hair then me (not hard lol) you should check out my wife’s brand, Here Come The Blondes, for tons of tips and tricks on getting the perfect do! Her Instagram can be found here and her Facebook is here.


But until next time, take care, and have a great day!


Best wishes,



Simon Long - Leicester Personal Trainer