Have you ever wondered why it is that we do the things that we do?
We can observe behaviour and the effects that it has, but what we can't see are the underlying motivations or attitudes that drive these behaviours.
To explain the interactions between what happens here and our behaviours, we use the Attitude, Behaviour, Results model or ABR model.
The ABR model proposes that throughout your life, your attitudes (or the thoughts and feelings that you have around an event, situation or person), drive a particular set of behaviors, which determine the results that you get in that situation.
Here's an example of the ABR model in action. Let's say that the result I want is to lose a bit of weight. To achieve this, I would need to exercise and watch what I eat. But, what attitudes, thoughts and feelings would I need to drive these behaviors?
I would probably need to consider losing the weight as a non-negotiable, or keep reminding myself that a little sacrifice now will be worth it in the end. These types of attitudes are likely to drive my behaviors towards achieving that goal.
On the other hand, if my attitude was that whenever I’ve had a hard day at work, I deserve some junk food -and that a gym membership is a total waste of money - then my behaviors are likely to be quite different.
I may still have a goal of losing weight, but my behaviors of pigging out and not exercising won't really help me. If I carry this attitude throughout my life, then it's unlikely that I will achieve the results that I'm after.
You have attitudes towards absolutely everything. Think about it. What do you think about and feel when I say McDonalds? What do you think about and feel about what you're listening to right now? What you've just identified are a couple of your attitudes, and you have lots of them. But where do they come from?
Well, research suggests that we developed our attitudes through a combination of the environments that we’re brought up in, and the opportunities and experiences we're exposed to across our life. Our attitudes shape our experience and any event in life is considered neutral until we form an attitude towards it.
An example of this would be two people on the same roller coaster ride. One could think it is exciting and exhilarating; the other, terrifying and dangerous. What makes the difference is the way that they think and feel about it.
Where things get really interesting is when we start to reflect on whether our attitudes are hindering us or helping us in achieving our goals.
A hindering attitude is one that is more likely to drive behaviors that block us from achieving our goals. A helpful attitude is one which drives behaviors that keep a person moving towards their goals.
What is important to remember is that sometimes the most helpful attitude won't necessarily be the easiest option, or the first that comes to mind. Also, a helpful attitude won’t help much if it doesn’t translate into helpful action!
If we can become more consciously aware of the attitudes that we hold, we can then step back and examine whether the attitude is driving helpful or unhelpful behaviors in pursuit of our goals.
What results are your attitudes getting you today?