Croí was delighted to host a compelling public talk on Cardiovascular Health and Behaviour Change featuring Professor Michael Vallis

‘I Know What To Do, So Why Can’t I Do It: Understanding How To Make Healthy Behaviours Stick’ 

We were delighted to host a compelling public talk at Croí House on Wednesday evening featuring Professor Michael Vallis from Dalhousie University in Canada. Titled ‘I Know What To Do, So Why Can’t I Do It: Understanding How To Make Healthy Behaviours Stick,’ the event aimed to shed light on the challenges individuals face in adopting and maintaining healthy behaviours for cardiovascular health.  

Cardiovascular disease is a pervasive health issue affecting many lives, making Professor Vallis, a Health Psychologist, an ideal speaker. The event attracted a diverse audience, including those living with or at risk of cardiovascular disease, individuals managing conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and those committed to enhancing their overall cardiovascular health. 

Hosted by Dr. Lisa Hynes, Health Psychologist and Head of Health Programmes at Croí, the event featured an insightful presentation by Professor Vallis, exploring the intricacies of behaviour change and the psychology behind it. The talk covered a wide array of topics crucial to cardiovascular health, including risk factors like diabetes, obesity, diet, alcohol, glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. 

One key aspect highlighted by Professor Vallis was the association between behaviour and these risk factors. He emphasised the importance of adhering to prescribed medications to manage conditions effectively. The discussion extended to the brain’s Executive and Hedonic Systems, revealing the normal pull in two different directions when making decisions. 

Motivation was a central theme, with Professor Vallis dissecting what motivation truly entails. He addressed the time it takes for new habits to form and become sustainable, citing a notable 2-5 year timeframe. Attendees gained valuable insights into finding motivation, identifying barriers to change, recognising support systems, and understanding the critical role of self-esteem in maintaining motivation. 

The event delved into the significance of values and goal-setting, offering practical steps for success. Stimulus control, reinforcement management, and evidence-based coping mechanisms were explored as effective tools for maintaining positive behavioural changes. Professor Vallis touched upon self-compassion and how it intertwines with overarching goals such as motivation, behaviour modification, and stress management. 

The Q&A session allowed attendees to actively engage with Professor Vallis, deepening their understanding of behaviour change strategies. The event succeeded in providing a comprehensive and accessible guide for individuals striving to lead healthier lives, especially those dealing with or at risk of cardiovascular disease. Professor Michael Vallis’s expertise, combined with Croí Heart & Stroke Charity’s commitment to community well-being, made this public talk a valuable and empowering experience for all in attendance. 

If you are impacted by any of the topics mentioned, Croí provide a free telephone helpline, Croí Connects for those living with, or affected by, heart disease and stroke. When you call, you will be connected with one of Croí’s Cardiac Nurse Specialists or you can join one of the weekly online health chats. For more information visit: or phone 091 5443210 or email: 

This event was supported by Healthy Galway City and Galway City Council. 


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