Does the behavioral recommendation(s) include specific directions about how to perform the behavior?

In addition to recommending behaviors, be sure to tell the audience how to do the behaviors. Describe the steps involved in performing the behaviors. Be as specific as possible about how  often or how long a behavior needs to be performed. New or complex behaviors may require more detailed directions, but remember, don’t overwhelm the audience with too much information.

Breaking behavior down into specific action steps can increase people’s confidence in their ability to perform the behavior, known as self-efficacy, which is an important predictor of health behavior.

Example 1:

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water and lather with soap.
  2. Rub your hands together for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Rinse your hands with clean running water.

Example 2:

Lift things with your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees or at the hips. Get help if the load is too heavy for you to lift alone.

Example 3:

CDC urges women to take 400 mcg of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant, to help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.

Page last reviewed: August 11, 2014