Read the article: Controlling Simple Habits
* Read and review all of the information in this lesson including the sample data collection tools, the powerpoint presentation, etc.
* To practice and apply what you have learned in this lesson you will collect some baseline data on a simple habit you have. If you choose to focus on yourself that way you can monitor this daily, hourly, and moment by moment if necessary. For a day, use a chart, calendar, or other data collection tool to collect data on how many times or how often you exhibit the targeted behavior you have selected. Make it simple as this is a practical exercise for you to get some experience and become more comfortable with this process.
* Gather Baseline Data: on the first day, monitor how many times you exhibit the targeted behavior. Do not apply any intervention (do not reward yourself for stopping or substituting the behavior with something more positive or productive). Just monitor and gather baseline data. You must chart this on a checklist, calendar, spreadsheet, etc.
* Decide on a simple intervention: If the simple habit is nail biting, for example, decide to reduce the number of times you bit your nails to XXX (number of times) a day/hour, etc. Make it a manageable number and something obtainable. If you accomplish your goal, reward yourself with something that will be satisfying to you.
* Make sure you consider the concepts of deprivation and satiation when deciding on the reward/positive consequence of achieving your goal. A reward will only be a stronger motivator if you have been deprived of it for a period of time.
* This simple exercise will help you as you move along in your process of collecting data and monitoring your progress toward your A Better Me Plan. It will also help prepare you as you plan on designing your proposed Behavior Modification Project for a program/agency in the Human Services field (see syllabus for details).
Discussion Board: Post your summary of what you did above. Discuss what the process was like.
* Were you able to develop more of an awareness of the “simple habit” by just making the attempt to collect the data and record it? Sometimes we have habits that we are not aware of until someone else points it out to us. We then try to become aware and change this behavior (if it is annoying or bothersome to ourselves or others).
* Were you able to come up with a simple reward or positive consequence for yourself to motivate you to modify or change your behavior? * Was it something you have been deprived of for some time?
* Please share the results of this simple exercise in your posting.
Respond to 2 of your class colleagues listed below.
I chose to monitor how many times in one day over 3 days I sucked my thumb. Yes, this is a bad habit that I have had since I was a child. I have always been embarrassed when someone noticed it while I was out in public or even at work. Over time as an adult, I grew to understand the underlying causes that would trigger me to put my thumb in my mouth. If there was a stressful event, I was thirsty, tired or hungry I would suck my thumb the most. I also, would suck my thumb when I wanted to concentrate and that seemed to calm me. So, during these times I would catch myself in the act or even have someone else point it put to me and I would document it.
The chart that I used measured only after I first woke up in the morning from 6am till lunchtime, and then lunchtime till dinner. I did tick markers every time I left the house and attempted to put my thumb in my mouth. Seeing that this chart would be the most accurate from days I was not in my house. I also had my husband point out to me through the times when I was putting my thumb in my mouth outside of the house. I was shocked to even think I would do it when I was driving, although it was ONLY at stop lights or heavy traffic where we were at a stop. After monitoring the first day and realizing when I did it the most out of the house I decided to find something to keep my mouth busy.
I bought a few varieties of gum. I use to be a smoker and usually when I was out in public, I did not put my thumb in my mouth but a cigarette instead. From the moment I would get in my car I would take out a stick of gum and put it in my mouth. Once I would get to points of destinations like the gas station, restaurant or other activity I had planned for the day I would start with a new piece of gum.
I chose to monitor how much I cuss. I did not think that I cuss that much but others have said that I do cuss a lot. I was shocked at how much I do cuss. I decided that every time I am aware that I will cuss to say something funny instead. So instead of saying a cuss word I say “fudge” or something like that. I decided that I would limit my cussing to 10 times a day. If I reach my goal and cuss 10 times or less than I will watch one episode of a Netflix show that I have not been able to watch due to time constraints. If I meet my goal, I will give myself the time to watch the show.
I was very shocked at how much I cussed. I never really thought it was a problem but after doing this assignment, I realize I CUSS and CUSS a lot. I was very disappointed in myself that I actually cuss that much. This assignment really made me aware of the problem and now I know I need to work really hard to fix it.
I was able to figure a simple reward. I do not get a lot of time to watch television. One of my favorite shows on Netflix is Virgin River. I have not had much time, so I really want to watch it. I made the decision to reward myself one episode a day if I meet my goal of a reduced number of times that I cuss. I have been deprived of watching the show so I think it will be a great motivator.
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