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Action stage

Now that the client is taking responsibility for their actions and are committed to following through with change you role will shift to confirmation and support. Sharing a self-regulatory feedback mechanism in order to track goal accomplishment and variance continues to be a key management task for all. Ideally you would use an app or similar for this.


A personal finance manager and expense tracker that will help you to find out where your money goes in easy and efficient way. Apps like this deliver financial behavior monitoring simply & practically.

TTM process

Helping relationships

It's vital the client makes the most of positive, supportive social relationships now that they are committed to changing behavior and outcomes. Tap into family and friends of the client and involve them in your joint processes. The power of apps like DOSHI is the facility to integrate messaging and social networks painlessly and link them to advisory processes. 

Contingency management

Here the challenge is putting in place strategies to prevent previous negative behaviors such as impulse spending; lazy food and services budgeting and failure to negotiate better pricing for goods and services purchased.  

Practically, we look to create an environment that increases rewards for positive behaviors and decreases rewards for counterproductive behavior.

Using apps with a well designed behavioral notices system it's feasible to deliver constructive, tangible rewards at the right time and in the right way to individual clients. These rewards can be accompanied by reminders of relevant strategies to persist with the behavior change.



Stimulus control

Again the role here is one of influence, usually mediated through the client's social network with the aim being to remove reminders or cues that invoke negative behaviors such as impulse spending.  Credit card removal is an extreme technique to be employed here, along with reduced incidents of shopping trips and an agreed budget that includes provision for small rewards based on compliance.


This was pioneered in smoking cessation and similar substance abuse management whereby the individual substitutes positive actions and thinking in circumstances that have previously elicited a destructive behavioral response. eg Home baking instead of a retail coffee and donuts.

Behavioral design steps


Here we group the TTM processes under a design pattern we call Protectability which as the name suggests is intent on protecting clients from risky contexts or misbehavior that stand to trigger a step backwards.  The pattern makes use of alerts to warn users of upcoming undesired effects ("trouble ahead") and provide support in anticipating inappropriate behaviors and their unwanted effects. e.g A bank budgeting app warning of an at risk positive account balance due to pattern recognition of spending against upcoming commitments. 


After setting goals in the Preparation Stage, clients are encouraged to not only share the goals themselves but progress against these goals. By making variance transparent, timely help and reminders can be channeled to support the individual. In the UK 100% mobile bank, STARLING use a GOAL feature for their customers.


In the next article we will examine the processes that can be put in place to prevent relapsed behavior and maintain autonomous financial behavior.


Grubman, J., Bollerud, K. and Holland, C. (2011). Motivating and Helping the Overspending Client: A Stages-of-Change Model. Journal of Financial Planning, 24(3), pp.60-67.

Laurillau, Y., Calvary, G., Foulonneau, A. and Villain, E. (2016). SEPIA, a support for engineering persuasive interactive applications. Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems - EICS '16.

Prochaska, J. and Velicer, W. (1997). The Transtheoretical Model of Health Behavior Change. American Journal of Health Promotion, 12(1), pp.38-48.

Xiao, J. and Wu, J. (2006). Encouraging Behavior Change in Credit Counseling: An Application of the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM). SSRN Electronic Journal.


Dr Daryl Foy

Dr Daryl Foy is a Behavioural Scientist who specialises in the design of effective health behaviour change apps based on evidence including his own validated models for optimising persistent use. He consults to industry on how-to integrate persuasive design into LEAN product development as well as conversational UI. He can be contacted at