Maintaining a new behavior is the most challenging part of any behavior change. 

Characteristics of Maintenance Helpful Strategies
  • Maintaining a new behavior
  • Avoid temptation
  • Develop coping strategies to deal with temptation
  • Remember to reward yourself for success
  • If you are trying to maintain a new behavior, look for ways to avoid temptation. Don’t place yourself in a high-risk situation. Use positive self-talk, “What can I learn from this?”
  • Reward yourself when you are able to successfully avoid a relapse.
  • Plan Ahead. Use a weekly/daily planner.
  • If you do lapse, don’t be too hard on yourself or give up. Instead, remind yourself that it was just a minor setback. Relapses are common and are a part of the process of making a lifelong change.
  • Never let a few days, or even weeks, of falling back into bad habits discourage you from fighting to reestablish the good habits you want. Always remember: none of us was born with any habits at all. They were all learned, and can all, therefore, be unlearned. The question is: how badly do you really want to change?

Prepare a Behavior-Changing Agenda: 

  • Journal
  • Use a daily planner
  • Write down your goals, list specific strategies, set specific targets


A LAPSE does not necessarily mean a RELAPSE. Focus on the successful part of the plan (“You did it for six days; what made that work?”). This shifts the focus from failure, promotes problem solving and offers encouragement. The goal here is to re-engage in the change process. Set realistic goals to prevent discouragement, and acknowledge all the positive steps you have taken toward behavior change.