Skip main navigation

Planning valued activities

How do small, daily changes in behaviour lead to significant long term changes? Find out more more in this article.
© University of Reading

To make a change in mood, you don’t need to make big changes in behaviour. Big changes are often so difficult to do we give up before we’ve even started, or give up half-way through which then feels like we’ve failed.

Take a look at the article “How to make small changes that last”, which gives an overview of behaviour change research showing how small, daily changes in behaviour can lead to significant long term changes. This is also helpful to think about in relation to healthy habits for yourself and your teenager/young people you work with.

The next task shows how this can be achieved from a five minute activity. You can download a worksheet found at the bottom of the Step.

  1. Rate your mood on a 0 – 10 scale (0 = saddest, 10 = happiest)
  2. Do one small valued activity (see below for examples)
  3. Rate your mood again on the 0 – 10 scale (0 = saddest, 10 = happiest)
Example valued activities
Put 1 thing away on the desk/table
Text a friend to see how they are
Make a cup of tea
Look up a restaurant to go to
Reserve a library book you want to borrow
Book an appointment you’ve been meaning to make
Check what’s on at your favourite theatre/cinema/live music venue
Put the dishes away
Fill up the bird feeder
Clear out your wallet/purse and get rid of receipts/tickets you no longer need
Book an exercise class you want to try
Make plans to visit the local museum

What examples did you think of? How does it feel to complete a valued activity, and how did it impact on your mood? Add your comments below

© University of Reading
This article is from the free online

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now