Since the summer of 2015 I’ve moved from perennial armchair adventurer, to planning and executing my own (albeit modest) dream expeditions. It took me 29 years to understand that if you do nothing, nothing will happen – funny that. How can you do the same and achieve your dream adventures you ask? For the answer I shall turn to the cutting edge of behaviour change psychology.

The latest work (by the very best leaders in the field, no quackery here!) to distill psychological theories of behaviour change into a more digestible all encompassing framework has resulted in the COM-B model. So as you sit there reflecting on how to make the necessary steps towards your dream adventure, ask yourself do you have the following:

The COM-B Model (Michie et al. 2011)


  1. Capability (Physical and Psychological) i.e. do you have the necessary endurance, flexibility, strength, mental resilience, goal-setting skills, financial planning, logistics expertise etc.
  2. Motivation (Automatic and Reflective) i.e. can you evaluate and form well thought out and reasonable plans over and above impulsive and habitual decisions that rule our everyday lives, can you break down long held emotions and beliefs such as lack of confidence etc.
  3. Opportunity (Physical and Social) i.e. do you have the time, resources, equipment, support from family, friends and peers, social cues, people to join you on your adventure etc.

Well, it’s not exactly three small steps (I had to hook you in somehow!) but if you can reflect on aspects of these three principles, then you are well on your way to achieving that dream adventure…


The COM-B model:

Interesting practical thoughts on planning your adventure:



About the Author Ash Routen

I’m a postdoctoral exercise scientist by day, and cold expedition adventurer (for want of a better term) and outdoors and health writer by night. I’m based in Leicester in the UK, but I also spend considerable time in Cambridge where my partner lives. To find out more about me, visit my about page or take a look at my published writing.

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