See chapter 2, step 2.
STEP THREE: Make a chart of your progress.
The daily counts or ratings can be plotted on a weekly or monthly
chart, as illustrated in chapter 2. Both counting and charting are easy
to forget; try doing them at scheduled times or pair them with some
dependable event. Examples: count calories before each meal; plot
daily total calories before doing exercises every evening; rate "target"
emotion before having your evening drink; plot hours spent studying
effectively every night before going to bed.
STEP FOUR: Use progress chart as a motivator; set reasonable
immediate, intermediate and final goals.
"Taking one small step at a time" or "one day at a time" is good
advice. Long-range goals may seem overwhelming, but a reasonable
goal set for the next 15 minutes, the next hour, this afternoon, or
today may seem quite manageable. For dieters, for example, focusing
on self-control during the next few hours is more effective than setting
weekly or monthly goals. Indeed, setting your own immediate goals
which will enable you to reach your long-range goals, in terms of the
"target" behavior, may be one of the better techniques for facilitating
change (Chapman & Jeffrey, 1978). Completing the desired behavior is
even more likely if you are frequently recording your progress; you
need to be striving for some immediate goal as well as improvement
each day or each week. The records will tell you if you made your
goals. See chapter 2, step 4.
Post the progress chart in a conspicuous place, over your "study"
chair or "depression" chair, on the refrigerator door, near where you
exercise, some place where others can see your progress too.
STEP FIVE: Frequently evaluate your progress by comparing
achievements with baseline data and with sub-goals.
See step 7 in chapter 2. The concept of baseline data is explained
there. The self-rewards and praise (or punishment and self-criticism)
we give ourselves have a powerful effect upon our behavior.
STEP SIX: Note special events on the progress chart.
Of particular interest to record will be (l) possible causal factors
and (2) major outcomes. First, any event that might help explain a
change in your target behavior should be recorded: got a new job,
started dating steadily, had argument with my boss, doing poorly in
math, and so on. Second, as chapter 2 recommends, one would
ordinarily record each day the most immediate and direct indicators of
progress, e.g. calories consumed, hours studying each day, minutes
involved in meaningful conversation with spouse, a rating of daily
tension, etc. However, it is the big, long-range achievements that are