To achieve our health goals, we need effective barrier management (see MoVo process model). This relies on our ability to self-control, which enables us to accomplish what we set out to do in the face of resistance, interruptions, failures, and temptations.

Self-control can refer to:

  • Acute self-control : You pull yourself together and just do it. Example: You get up from the sofa, take your stuff and go, although you are actually tired and would much rather stay at home. This is always necessary when what you have resolved to do contradicts what you would most like to do at the moment. In such situations, it is important to overcome the impulse to avoid effort or fear (inner couch potato!). Different strategies can help , e.g. motivating ourselves with pictures (accentuating positive consequences), putting ourselves in the appropriate mood (mood control), or stopping “dangerous” thoughts. In our intervention programs, we refer to these barrier management strategies as “MoVo-Strategies.” They are presented in more detail below.
  • Preventive action control: The new behavior (e.g., a regular visit to the gym or a new diet) is strategically shielded from internal and external barriers. Barrier management is not only used to resist an opposing impulse at a given moment . It is also necessary in order to perform a planned behavior in the long rum (e.g. going for a run every Tuesday and Friday). Long-term strategies of preventive action control are used, e.g. making appointments with others, creating start-off aids, using the power of habit, enjoying successes, looking for role models, organizing support, or giving the project time (see MoVo-Strategies below). Preventive action control knows about the “critical situations” in everyday life and prevents relapse into undesirable behavior patterns.

Ten MoVo strategies for barrier management that are (at least partially) addressed in the various MoVo programs are presented below. Of course, there are many other self-management strategies, so this is only a selection.

The MoVo-Strategies at a glance:

  1. Motivate yourself with images
  2. Put yourself in the right mood
  3.  Stop dangerous thoughts
  4. Make appointments with others
  5. Create start-off aids for yourself
  6. Use the power of habits
  7. Enjoy successes
  8. Look for role models
  9. Organize support
  10. Take your time